Former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Hendrick Ekstein says Ghana legend Michael Essien convinced him to join Sabail FK.
The playmaker surprisingly left Sabah FC in December 2019 despite having had a successful short spell at the club.
Ekstein returned home having hit the back of the net three times in 10 Azerbaijan Premier League matches between August and December 2019.
However, the 29-year-old player travelled back to Azeibajain two months ago and secured a deal with Sabail after being urged to join the Sailors by former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder Essien.
“Its every player’s dream to play alongside their favourite footballers. He is actually the one who called me and asked me to join him at Sabail," Ekstein said on The Citizen.
"I was very surprised and I felt very honoured to have got a call from Essien. It meant a lot to me and it was an indication that my work is being noticed.
"He played at the biggest clubs and won a lot of major trophies. Being with him in one team is just a motivation for me to continue working hard and always to give my best whenever I get a chance to play.”
Ekstein added that 37-year-old Essien, who is one of the most decorated African footballers, has been advising him on how to improve his game.
“He is always talking to me and telling me where to improve. Getting advice from a player like him is just great and I’m happy," he added.
Ekstein has featured in six league matches and netted twice for Sabail, who are a place above the relegation zone on the standings.
The Azerbaijan Premier League has been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.