Welcome to the Community,
you may need to adjust some settings (e.g. networking) in the VM's configuration, but the VM should work in VMware Workstation. In case of any issues, post (attach) the VM's vmware.log to a reply post.
PS: Sorry, I mixed up versions. It will work on WS9 (with hardware version 9). With WS 8 it might work after setting the HW version back to 8.
Can you give more details on the ESXi 5 image? Is it a virtual machine with ESXi 5 preinstalled or a disk image to install ESXi 5?
If it is a disk image to install ESXi 5, you can follow the instructions in the KB:Installing ESXi 5.x in VMware Workstation