Bali United coach Stefano Cugurra Teco has categorically stated that Michael Essien opened the doors for other top players to join the Thai Premier League.
Essien, who joined Persib Bandung on a free transfer in 2017, established himself as one of the key players for the side in his first season.
He moved to the Indonesian Premier League as a marquee signing on a one-year contract.
The former Chelsea midfield lynchpin demonstrated a tremendous professional touch in his sole season in the Asian country.
Essien became the highest-profile signing for Indonesian football since Cameroon World Cup hero Roger Milla and Argentine World Cup winner Mario Kempes played in the country in the 1990s.
According to Bali United coach Teco, the former Ghana international opened the gateway for other world class stars to join the country’s elite championship.
“Yes, certainly in 2017 when there will be a marquee player like Michael Essien, the Indonesian League will become more famous in Europe,” Teco said, quoted by the Bali Tribune.
“Other European players are starting to come to Indonesia,” Teco said.
After Essien, there were several players from the European league coming to Indonesia. Call it Peter Odemwingie, who joined Madura United in 2018.
Then there was a former Newcastle United player, Danny Guthrie who played for Mitra Kukar in the same year.
And the latest is ex-Juventus, Marco Motta who was hooked by Persija Jakarta this season.
Teco said that if European players were still impressive, they might continue to emerge from European stars to play in Indonesia.
However, if in Indonesia the player experiences a decline in performance, maybe the clubs will shift their gaze to other countries or continents.
“I think it depends on the achievements of European players in League 1 now. If the performance decreases, maybe the team will not use it anymore and will see players from other countries,” said Teco.
“But, if the performance remains good, surely other European players will come to Indonesia,” said Teco.
Essien won the Champions League, two Premier League titles and four FA Cups during nine seasons at Chelsea.
He also played at two World Cups for Ghana, who he represented 58 times, before retiring in the wake of the 2014 tournament in Brazil.