Zokora Retires from Ivory Coast Duty

Didier Zokora has called time on his international career with the Ivory Coast men’s national football team.

The 33-year-old defensive midfielder is currently his country’s most capped player of all time, with 121 caps.

After playing key roles in ‘Les Elephants’s’ first two World Cup campaigns in 2006 and 2010, the ex-Tottenham Hotspur man was recalled from his initial retirement by then-coach Sabri Lamouchi in their 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup.

“After 15 years at the highest level, I think it’s time for me to end my international career,” Zokora, who now plies his trade at Turkish outfit, Akhisar Belediyespor, said on the sidelines of a football tournament organised in his honour in Abidjan suburb of Williamsville.

Zokora Passes Words of Inspiration to His Team-Mates Before the Start of the Second Half of a 2014 World Cup Group Game Against Colombia at the Estadio Nacional. Image: Stuart Franklin - FIFA/FIFA via Getty.
Zokora Passes Words of Inspiration to His Team-Mates Before the Start of the Second Half of a 2014 World Cup Group Game Against Colombia at the Estadio Nacional. Image: Stuart Franklin – FIFA/FIFA via Getty.

“It is time to give chance to the younger ones. In the game against Sierra Leone, I saw some young players who can validly fit in.”

Since making his international debut in 2000, Zokora went on to feature in five successive Africa Cup of Nations tournament with his country.

The ASEC Mimosas product, who won the 1998 Caf Champions League, has had stints at other European clubs like; Racing Genk, Saint-Etienne, Sevilla and Trabzonspor.

He is the latest high profile Ivorian player to announce retirement, following former skipper Didier Drogba.

Meanwhile, in the absence of the retired duo, Cote d’Ivoire got their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers off to a winning start with a 2-1 win against Sierra-Leone over the weekend.

Kei Kamara (43′) scored the opening goal for the ‘Leone Stars’, but a second-half revival had Seydou Doumbia (63′) and Gervinho (68′) seal a comeback win in Abidjan.

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