Cambodia says goodbye to Japanese coach with trumpets, drums and tears

By Hoang Nguyen, The QuynhMay 11, 2023 | 07:44 pm PT
Trumpets and drums were brought out to bid farewell to Japanese football coach Keisuke Honda after his last game with Cambodia in SEA Games 32.

A band of dozens played horns and drums for Honda right after his last game as Cambodia head coach on Wednesday night, a 1-2 lost to Indonesia, which eliminated the host from the group stage. This is a special send-off protocol that Cambodia prepared for Honda.

The 36-year-old coach was moved by this act. He took photos with the team and the band, then bid farewell to the fans at the Olympic Stadium.

A grand farewell is held for coach Keisuke Honda at Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, May 10, 2022.

On Thursday morning, Honda announced that he has parted ways with Cambodia after failing to help the team get past SEA Games 32 group stage.

"We wanted to get better results, but we couldn't. Sometimes in life, we can't keep our promises, and for me personally, this reality is hard to accept," Honda wrote on Facebook.

The Japanese coach is set to return to playing football after his spell with Cambodia.

Keisuke Honda in Cambodias 1-2 loss against Indonesia in SEA Games 32 on May 10, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Keisuke Honda in Cambodia's 1-2 loss against Indonesia in SEA Games 32 on May 10, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Honda was one of the best Japanese midfielders in his prime from 2010-2017 when he played in Europe for Russia’s CSKA Moscow and Italian giant AC Milan.

He became the technical director and head coach of Cambodian football in 2018. With Honda, Cambodia reached the semifinals of SEA Games for the first time in 2019.

In SEA Games 32, Cambodia started strong by defeating Timor Leste 4-0, but drew with the Philippines 1-1 before losing 2-0 to Myanmar and 2-1 to Indonesia, before exiting the tournament.

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