Essien a coup for football in Indonesia

Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien being unveiled as a Persib Bandung player at a club press conference. Essien joins on a one-year undisclosed deal.
Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien being unveiled as a Persib Bandung player at a club press conference. Essien joins on a one-year undisclosed deal.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JAKARTA • Former Chelsea, Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder Michael Essien has joined Indonesia's Persib Bandung, the club announced on social media yesterday.

The 34-year-old Ghanaian is the highest-profile signing for Indonesian football since Cameroon 1990 World Cup hero Roger Milla and Argentinian 1978 World Cup winner Mario Kempes played in the country in the 1990s.

It is believed that he has signed a one-year contract for an undisclosed sum.

Essien, who has been a free agent since leaving Greek club Panathinaikos at the end of last season, won the Champions League, two English Premier League titles and four FA Cups during nine seasons at Chelsea.

He also played at two World Cups for Ghana, winning 58 caps in total, before retiring after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Persib posted photographs of a shirt bearing the No. 5, the number Essien made his own at Chelsea, with his name on the back before publishing further pictures of the player posing with club officials.

Based in Bandung in West Java, Persib are one of the best supported clubs in Indonesia and finished third in the recently completed President's Cup.

The start date for the new league season in Indonesia has yet to be announced.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Essien a coup for football in Indonesia'. Print Edition | Subscribe