Victory comes before Cambodia: Honda

Keisuke Honda (l) has assured coach Kevin Muscat (r) the Victory will take priority over Cambodia.
Keisuke Honda (l) has assured coach Kevin Muscat (r) the Victory will take priority over Cambodia.

Former Japan international Keisuke Honda has reassured A-League club Melbourne Victory they are his first priority despite taking on a role with the Cambodian national team.

The position is believed to be general manager, working alongside coach Felix Gonzalez.

Honda said on Wednesday he was "firstly a Melbourne Victory player".

"About four months I spoke to the Cambodian association and I ask them may I become manager of the national team and at the same time I'm a soccer player and they said yes," Honda said.

"Melbourne Victory understand my situation and respect my activities.

"When I'm here I will be focusing on that.

"I have to focus on playing well ... I'm doing a lot of things outside of soccer but that's not a big issue and I have a lot of colleagues who help my activities and that's why I can focus on playing soccer."

The Japan superstar owns a club in Cambodia and runs several football academies there and will reportedly do much of his consultancy with the national team via video link.

He said he planned to visit Cambodia once every two to three months.

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat said they were always aware of Honda's Cambodian ambitions.

"Right from the outset Keisuke's management team were completely open and honest with his motivations and plans," Muscat said.

First and foremost Keisuke's priority is here at Melbourne Victory.

"He will in no way compromise any of our game or even training sessions."

Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro also believed there was no issue that the A-League deal would put Honda in breach of Asian Football Confederation statutes relating to a conflict of interest.

"Whatever has needed to be worked through has been worked through and we are comfortable," Di Pietro said.

Australian Associated Press