Former England striker Carlton Cole released by Persib Bandung
The troubled spell of former England striker Carlton Cole in Indonesia is over after the ex-West Ham marksman parted ways with Persib Bandung where he has shared a dressing room with Chelsea legend Michael Essien.
Since arriving amid great fanfare in April, the 33-year-old has played just 105 minutes over eight games.
The writing seemed to be on the wall in midweek as Cole did not even travel with the team to Bali United where they lost 1-0, a first defeat of the season that sent former leaders Persib tumbling down the table to eighth.
Team Manager Umuh Muchtar was subsequently quoted as saying by numerous Indonesian media outlets that Cole's time in West Java was over.
"We must quickly find Cole's replacement," said the official. "Maybe it will cost us a lot of money to do so, but that is what we have to do."
According to online portal Juara, the Englishman is in the dark as to what is going on.
"I really do not know what his problem is with me, I have not done anything wrong," Cole was reported as saying.
Umuh has been a vocal critic of the player in his short stay at the club, with Cole looking unfit and isolated in attack -- on the rare occasions he made it onto the pitch.
#Pray. #Love. #Forgive. I try not to stress about things I can't control anymore. Because people will do or say what they want to benefit their own agenda. Stress causes heartache and disease and a loss of focus on the true meaning of your journey. I choose to be stress-free and to live my life knowing I am doing the BEST I can for myself, my family & also for the people that support me & has my back no matter what. ����⚽️��
Last month, the manager said that playing with the 33-year-old was akin to taking the field with only 10 men. He also claimed that Cole made his only start of the season to show fans who had been asking where he was, why he had not been selected.
Despite the high-profile signing of Cole and his former Chelse teammate Essien it has been a turbulent season so far. Last week, Essien was been criticised by Umuh for taking -- and missing --a penalty that had been designated for another player.
With the team scoring just eight goals in the first eight games and twice letting victories slip due to late equalisers, the fans have criticised coach Djadjang Nurdjaman. So has Umuh, who hinted before the Bali loss, that the coach's future could depend on that display.
Failure to defeat Bhayangkara on Sunday could result in more departures from the club.
Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.