Former Black Stars midfielder Michael Essien faces up to a five year jail term in Indonesia, or at least deportation, after he was busted for working in the country without obtaining a work permit.
Essien recently signed for the Indonesian side Persib Bandung, to much fanfare, and has even started appearing in games for them.
However, immigration officials in the Asian country has targeted Essien and former English international Carlton Cole, who also plays for Persib, after it emerged neither had obtained a work permit to practice their professions in the country.
That violates Indonesia’s strict immigration laws, and the pair face deportation or prosecution, for which they could be fined up to £30,000 and face up to five years in prison.
Persib claims they are aware the pair have no work permits but that the league gave them permission to use them.
Persib Manager Umuh Muchtar said the players are the victims of a witch hunt.
“That they are here is a joy for us, they want to raise up Indonesia’s name in the world,” he said.
He added: “Everybody knows that Essien is a world-class player, not an illegal immigrant.”