Renowned Japanese striker Keisuke Honda – the coach of Cambodia, was greeted as a hero from thousands of fans of the Botafogo Club (Brazil), the team he just signed to play until the end of this year.
“Ole, Ole, Ole, Ola, Honda, Honda” were cheered by the enthusiastic crowd of fans, launching the Japanese flag when the 33-year-old striker arrived at Galeao International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Blocked by photographers in front of their eyes, Honda pleases the crowd by jumping on a high platform to wave to the fans, then wears the Botafogo club hat and waving the team’s black and white flag.
Honda – one of the best players in Japanese football history, will be officially introduced on February 8 at Nilton Santos Stadium, the venue for the 2016 Olympic Games. Botafogo Club is working hard to strengthen force after finishing 15th in the Brazilian league last season.
Honda has been free since leaving the Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem in December last year less than two months after joining. The former AC Milan and CSKA Moscow star was a prominent player in the Japanese shirt when scoring 37 goals in 98 appearances, including four goals at the World Cup finals.
In 2018, he became the first Japanese player to score in three World Cup finals. He is not the first foreign star to sign a contract with Botafogo at the end of his career. The great Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf – the only one to win the Champions League with three different clubs – joined the team in 2012 and enjoyed 18 months of success in Rio de Janeiro, scoring 24 goals in 81 matches.
However, Botafogo’s most famous player is the winger witch and World Cup champion Garrincha, the legend who lit Brazilian football in the 1950s and 60s.
Honda has publicly revealed his determination to find a new team to light his hopes of playing in the 2020 Olympic Games hosted by Japan. However, the player’s arrival in Brazil once again made Cambodian fans fall short when Honda still could not return to officially lead the national team and U.23 this country. The Japanese striker signed a contract with the Cambodian Football Association at the end of 2018 (without pay) but since then he has controlled it remotely when he handed the direct guidance to 31-year-old coach Felix Dalmas.