Former Kaizer Chiefs star Pule Ekstein finds a new home at Azerbaijan side Sabail
Pule Ekstein has been granted his wish to stay in Europe after signing an 18-month contract with Azerbaijan side Sabail‚ the club has confirmed.
The former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder was surprisingly axed by former club Sabah‚ also in Azerbaijan‚ despite a solid first six months of the season as their new coach Željko Sopić did not see him as a part of his plans.
Ekstein was caught off-guard by his release‚ but has found a new home within a month and now faces a relegation battle with the side struggling at the foot of the table‚ though only a single point behind Sabah.
Ironically‚ one of his three league goals this season was for Sabah against Sabail in November.
He has been drafted in to add more potency to their attacking play with the side having managed only 10 goals in their 14 games to date.
He will link up with his new teammates in their camp in Turkey with the Azerbaijan season on a winter break.
Sabail may be struggling this season‚ but finished third in the last campaign‚ which earned them a place in the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League‚ showing the potential of a club that is only four years old.
That will be the heights they are aiming for again‚ but for this season it might be about just avoiding the drop.
Ekstein will have former Ghana international midfielder Michael Essien as a teammate‚ though the 37-year-old ex-Chelsea star has only managed five substitute appearances this season and none since October.
He is winding down his career‚ but also has a role as assistant coach with the club’s Under-19s‚ which points to where he feels his future lies.