AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Keisuke Honda wants to bring change to Cambodia through football

Keisuke Honda

Japan legend Keisuke Honda has not had a great start to his coaching career after seeing his Cambodia side lose their first two matches to Malaysia and Myanmar in the ongoing AFF Suzuki Cup 2018.

But Honda, who kickstarted his coaching career with the Angkor Warriors even while playing professionally for A-League outfit Melbourne Victory, is confident he can bring joy to the people of the Southeast Asian nation through football.

“In Cambodia, there are still many people living in their hardship. Through football, I hope to give them courage to bright up their lives and to provide them with a little more energy to work for tomorrow. I hope this project can help them,” he was quoted as saying in TheMorning.

“I think one of the great things about Cambodia is people are fraught with desire. I’ve heard from my grandparents about it vaguely, and it’s similar to the time when Japan was going through its economic boom. I think they are similar in a good way and a bad way,” said Honda who represented Japan in last summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The Japanese attacking midfielder who joined the A-League side after stints with CSKA Moscow and AC Milan is juggling with his two jobs at the moment. And he was present for Cambodia’s match against Myanmar last week barely 24 hours after scoring for Melbourne against Central Coast Mariners in Australia’s domestic league.

“I am not sure what I can do. Some people who are listening to this may say: ‘You are just a football coach. What are you talking about?’ That’s okay, but I have a sense of responsibility through football,” said the 32-year-old who won 98 international caps for Japan before announcing his retirement post Japan’s 2018 World Cup exit.

“I hope as many people as possible to feel something and motivate them to try harder,” he said. Cambodia face Laos in their third group match on Tuesday before travelling to Hanoi to face Vietnam on November 24.

(Photo credit: Melbourne Victory)