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Honda: Latest player to score on five continents

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
Keisuke Honda is the first football player from Asia to score on five continents. KT/Yeun Punleau

While much has been written about Keisuke Honda’s impactful debut with the Brazilian club Botafogo, what most sports commentators missed is the fact that the mercurial Japanese football star is the latest among a special group of players who has scored professionally on five continents.

Honda, who is also the general manager of the Cambodian National Football Team, achieved the feat last week when he scored on a penalty kick in his first-ever game for Botafogo FC.

Honda’s goal allowed his team to draw its match against versus Bangu FC in the Rio de Janeiro State Championship.

Honda, who amassed 82 goals throughout his professional career, has played and scored goals in Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America.

Honda, 33, started his professional career in 2005 with the Nagoya Grampus Eight FC in the Japanese J1 League. After three years, he started playing for professional soccer leagues in Europe.

In Europe, Honda had stints with VVV-Venlo (Netherlands), CSKA Moscow (Russia), A.C. Milan (Italy) and Vitesse Arnhem (Netherlands).

After his stint with A.C. Milan ended in 2017, Honda played for the Mexican club Pachuca in the Liga MX, where he immediately made an impact by scoring in his first game for the club, a 4-1 win against Veracruz.

From North America, Honda travelled all the way down to Australia to join Melbourne Victory, a team that was playing in the Australian A-League. After less than a year with the Australian club, Honda left and was later acquired by the Dutch club, Vitesse Arnhem.

Early this year, Honda signed a contract with Botafogo FC, marking the first time that he played in South America.

But contrary to what has been reported in the Spanish sports daily, Diario AS, he is not the first professional footballer to achieve such an historic feat.

According to an article in the British newspaper The Guardian, the Brazilian football legend Romario de Souza Faria (popularly known as Romario), who scored more than 1,000 goals throughout his professional career, achieved the milestone earlier.

Romario had stints with CR Vasco da Gama in Brazil, Al-Sadd Sports Club in Qatar, Adelaide United FC in Australia, Miami FC in the United States, Barcelona and Valencia in Spain and PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

The same article also mentioned Argentine footballer Osvaldo Nartallo as another professional football player who achieved the feat prior to that of Honda.

Nevertheless, what Honda achieved is impressive enough, as it appears that he is the first Asian football player to achieve such a milestone.

In Cambodia, Honda has been credited for turning around the fortunes of the Cambodian National Football Team since he started managing them last year. The squad, which has often been at the tail-end of many international football competitions, has started winning under the watch of Honda and head coach Felix Dalmas of Argentina.

Last year, Cambodia qualified for the AFC U-19 Championship 2020, marking the first time for the Kingdom to enter the championship stage of the tournament in nearly 50 years. The Kingdom was also a semi-finalist in football in the 2019 Southeast Asian games in the Philippines, a feat it has not achieved in more than 60 years.

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