Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda is setting up an amateur football team in his country.
The Japan Times reported yesterday that Honda, which is also the general manager of the Cambodian national football team, has made preliminary moves towards registering a team called One Tokyo.
Tournament rules require that the team will have to be registered with the Tokyo Shakaijin Soccer League.
The club’s website said tryouts for the team will be held on Jan 24.
Honda said on the team website that he wants to ‘build a football club from zero’ in Tokyo that can have a global impact. “I want to build it together with everyone,” he stressed.
This new development comes a month after Honda ended his stint with the Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem.
Honda cited his failure to ‘change the fortunes’ of the team as the main reason for his abrupt departure. He left the team less than six weeks after signing a one-season contract with them.
This will not be the first time for the 33 year old footballer to venture into team ownership.
In 2015, his family-run management company, Honda ESTILO, bought a 49 percent of SV Horn, a soccer club competing in the Austrian Second League. But financial difficulties, according to Japanese media reports, forced the company to “pull the plug” last season.
Honda has been the general manager of the Cambodian national team since August 2018. He and head coach Felix Dalmas have received credit for steering the Cambodian team to some landmark accomplishments last year.
In Dec 2019, Cambodia qualified for the first time in the Asian Football Confederation under-19 for the first time since 1974. That same month, the Cambodian men’s U22 team entered the semi-finals of the Southeast Asian games for the first time in 60 years.
The native of Osaka rose to fame for leading the Japanese national team in three World Cup finals (2010, 2014 and 2018). His bleach-blond hair made him one of the most recognisable athletes in Asia.
In addition to his Vitesse stint, Honda also played professionally for Melbourne Victory in Australia, Pachuca in Mexico, Milan in Italy, CSKA Moscow in Russia and VVV-Venlo in the Netherlands.
Last year, he caused a stir on social media and in the international football community when he “begged” Manchester United to offer him a contract.