Berlin – Former Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda debuted for Azerbaijan Premier League club Neftchi Baku on Sunday, playing the second half of a 2-0 loss at home to Sumgayit.
The 34-year-old, who joined the capital city club last month, had not played an official match in roughly 3½ months after leaving Brazilian side Botafogo.
With his team already trailing 2-0, Honda came off the bench to start the second half of the clash at Bakcell Arena.
He created one chance with a through ball and later took a shot on goal himself, but otherwise made little impact for his new side, which is second in the eight-team Premier League after 21 matches.
Honda had looked set to join Portimonense in the Portuguese top flight following his departure from Brazil, but the deal fell through after the team failed to register him in time.
The only Japan international to score at three different World Cups, Honda also played for clubs in the Netherlands, Russia, Italy, Mexico and Australia before making Azerbaijan the seventh foreign country where he has played professionally.
Honda, who is currently the general manager of Cambodia’s national team, has set his sights on representing Japan at the Tokyo Olympics in one of the slots designated for overage players in the under-24 men’s soccer team.
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