Victory fine with Honda’s Cambodian gig
Posted on 01/28/19 9:11 PM
Melbourne Victory is OK with star Keisuke Honda (L) being general manager of the Cambodian team.Melbourne Victory chief Trent Jacobs is confident Keisuke Honda’s secondary job with the Cambodian national team won’t distract his focus during his debut A-League season.
A week after he was confirmed as Victory’s marquee signing, the Japanese superstar was unveiled as the new “general manager” of the world No.166-ranked Cambodian team.
The 32-year-old doesn’t have the credentials to take on an official coaching position but it’s understood he’ll be Cambodia’s head coach in all but name, with his new role tailored specifically for him.
It’s something of a passion project for Honda, who’s taken a keen interest in the development of football in the impoverished country and owns top-division Cambodian club Soltilo Angkor FC.
Victory and Football Federation Australia are comfortable with the arrangement, which allows the former AC Milan midfielder fly out to work with the team during the A-League’s international windows in November and March.
Honda will stay in Melbourne for the FIFA break in October, just before their A-League season-opener against Melbourne City, after a request from Victory coach Kevin Muscat.
Jacobs said Victory was fully aware of Honda’s desire to assist Cambodian football in negotiations and believed his commitment to the club wouldn’t be compromised in any way.
“All of our background work and all of the time we spent getting to know Keisuke demonstrated that he’s a complete professional,” Jacobs told AAP.
“He has been very, very clear with us that his number one priority is to come to Melbourne Victory and help us be as successful as we possibly can be.
“He knows and understands the challenge in front of him and the expectations that will be placed upon him.
“He’s wanting to give back to football there and is clearly a really ambitious guy.”
Honda is due to arrive in Melbourne this week and face the media alongside Muscat and chairman Anthony Di Pietro on Wednesday.
FFA’s legal department is checking whether or not Honda’s arrangement with Cambodia is in contravention of Asian Football Confederation rules.
The AFC’s statutes say anyone with a contract at one club can’t accept paid work with another national association at the same time.
Honda isn’t receiving a salary for the role but is reportedly having his expenses reimbursed, and it’s unclear whether that amounts to remuneration in the eyes of the confederation.
AAP has contacted AFC for comment.