Jakarta, March 30 (IANS) Indonesian football giants Persib have signed two former English Premier League (EPL) stars Michael Essien and Carlton Cole with one-year contracts and the two have joined the team’s training camp.
Striker Cole, 33, had scored 51 goals in the EPL with the clubs including West Ham United, Aston Villa and Chelsea, reports Xinhua news agency.
Cole signed the contract recently after his close colleague Essien joined Persib earlier this month.
A Persib official said that Cole’s recruitment went swiftly. Cole arrived in Indonesia on Monday, concluded the negotiations over the contract the next day and undertook medical test on Wednesday.
“I never knew my career would bring me to Indonesia, (but) this is a great club. I want to pay for the support of the fans by scoring a lot of goals,” Cole told Persib’s website on Thursday.
“Essien is a great player in Europe. The Persib fans are great. I am happy to be here,” he added.
Essien had ever been Cole’s teammate in Chelsea where the 34-year-old Ghanaian played from 2005 to 2014.
Besides Chelsea, Essien also made stints with top clubs such as Lyon, Real Madrid and AC Milan.
Essien came to Persib from Greek football giants Panathinaikos.
“I am confortable and glad to undertake my first training session here. I hope everything will be doing just fine. I will give my best for the team,” Essien said.
Persib did not officially make public the contract values for the two international players. Local media said that Essien received 9 billion rupiah (about $676,000) for the one-year contract with Persib.
Persib Executive Zainuri Hasyim expected the recruitment of Cole and Essien to make the team regain championship in Indonesia’s premier football league this year.
“Persib must become the best team in Indonesia. The championship title is not a burden, but a challenge. We have to work hard if we want to be the champion,” he said.
Persib is the largest football club in Indonesia with strong fan base. The team dominated championship in the national premier league until 2014, seized the 2015 Indonesian president Cup, the champion of Bruneian King’s Cup in 1986 and one of top teams contending in the AFC Asian Champions League.