Fair to say Keisuke Honda is a man with a bit going on in his life, despite hanging up the boots for the Japan national team.
Alongside his duties as Melbourne Victory – and for the matter, the A-League’s – marquee man, Honda has his hands full with the Cambodian national team, a job he agreed to take on around the time he moved to Australia.
That is not to mention his business exploits, and, interestingly, one of his Soltilo Familia Soccer Schools runs out of northeast Melbourne suburb Heidelberg.
It is a unique situation, one that only a workaholic like Honda would dare take on.
Though looking calm and composed – literally and figuratively – on the sidelines for the Angkor Warriors, it is that complicated job Honda finds most challenging.
Weekly video conferences with coaching staff and travelling to the southeast Asian nation on official FIFA windows could not be easy.
The results too reflect a challenging landscape for the team ranked 172nd in the world: Honda has won one game – against Laos – since taking over seven fixtures ago.
“It’s quite tough and I’m learning how to manage both sides – especially how to manage the Cambodian national team. It’s a new experience for me,” Honda explained.
“The most difficult thing is the training in Cambodia while I’m teaching the Cambodian players. No one has done that so far, managing and playing.
“I also have to keep training alone. That was really tough and I didn’t have enough time to do that because I also took English lessons in Cambodia, but I like to challenge myself.
“Every year I’m getting busier because I and our group are increasing the things about not only business, but charities.
— Daily Football Show (@DFS_AUS) December 5, 2018
“I’m struggling every year how to manage the time, but I like to do many things at the same time.”
Based on his Victory form, you would not know Honda’s time is so split. Six games, four goals, three assists, and a world of effort into building up his teammates.
Honda’s next Victory opponents will be Adelaide United, who visit Marvel Stadium for the Original Rivalry on Saturday night.
The Reds rebounded from their first defeat of the season last week, defeating Brisbane Roar 2-1 at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
Head coach Marco Kurz hoped he could bring Adelaide fans an early slice of Christmas cheer with a win against their bitter foes.
“All of last season, we always had big fights against them and I’m looking forward to this game,” he said.
“I think the boys are looking good and everybody knows what happens in Melbourne if you play against Victory.
“I said it last season, the first I heard was how important it is to win away at Victory for our supporters and we will do our best to give than an early Christmas present.”
According to a report in the Advertiser, Adelaide could turn to Brazilian hit man Bobo to solve their lingering striker woes.
The report claims the former Sydney FC goals record-breaker is considering a move back to Australia after just half a season in Turkey.
Thirty-three-year-old Bobo has two goals to his name in 11 total games in all competitions for Alanyaspor.
On Thursday, the Reds said Senegalese striker Baba Diawara was set for further time on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery.
Kurz revealed he expects the injury to be a longer-term problem, while George Blackwood could be just a week away from returning to full training.