didier zokora - fact file

2006 - 2009            midfielder

Born on 14th December 1980 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Height : - 1.8m  (' ")

Weight : -  78 kgs (st lbs)


Signed for a big fee of 8,200,000 after the 2006 World Cup, where he starred for Ivory Coast, Didier Zokora brought his busy midfield style to Tottenham as Martin Jol started to build his side.  Zokora has become a popular player among the fans, if not star name, but he puts in a huge amount of work in each game and much of that goes unrecognised.

Coming in as the third most expensive player Spurs had ever bought at the time, the midfielder needed to show what he was capable of straight from the start and his dynamic action did have an effect on the team.  Capable of breaking down the opposition's moves and then breaking at pace with his direct running at the other side's defence, he added a new asset to the midfield.

Made a name for himself in his home city of Abidjan with ASEC Mimosas, who he played for from their Academy upwards.  Brought to Europe by Belgian club Genk, where he became an integral part of their midfield in winning the Belgian league championship in 2002 and his European experience with them earned him a move to St. Etienne, where he gained more experience in European competitions.  It was here that he became known to Tottenham's Sporting Director, Damien Comolli, which helped pave his way to White Hart Lane.

Perhaps in the inflated transfer market of the time, Spurs paid way over the odds for Zokora (but he wasn't the only one), but he has been a consistent performer for the team.  His passing isn't always great and he has adopted the mantle of the "new Steffen Freund" as the fans shout "Shoooooooooot" when he gets the ball in the opposition half, as he has rarely come close in two seasons in the Tottenham team.  Two opportunities in the successful League Cup final of 2008 could have wrapped up the game, but it was not to be for Didi.  However, he did coolly slot home his penalty in the UEFA Cup shoot-out in the tie against PSV Eindhoven and also scored one for the Ivory Coast in an African Cup of Nations shoot-out.

Having lost favour when Harry Redknapp came in as manager and bought Wilson Palacios as the main defensive midfielder, Didier grew impatient at not having first team football with the World Cup finals in South Africa coming up in 2010.  This lead to him leaving White Hart Lane to join Sevilla for a rumoured 8.5 million fee and two years later, he made the move to play in Turkey for Trabzonspor.

NICKNAME :  Didi

Career Record
 
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast) ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
KRC Genk (Belgium) July 2000 ?? ??  ?? ??
AS St. Etienne (France) July 2004 ?? ??  ?? ??
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR July 2006 8,000,000 19th August 2006  v Bolton Wanderers (Premier League) (away) lost 0-2  ?? ??
Sevilla (Spain) 8th July 2009 8,500,000 ??  ?? ??
Trabzonspor (Turkey) 2nd June 2011 3,700,000 ??  ?? ??
- ?? ?? ??  ?? ??

Career Record
ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
KRC Genk (Belgium)
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
AS St. Etienne (France)
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
- League appearances; 0 goals
- FA Cup appearances; 0 goals
- League Cup appearances; 0 goals
European appearances; 0 goals
Sevilla (Spain)
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Trabzonspor (Turkey)
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
- -
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals


Honours

Ivory Coast international
Debut : -  v Tunisia 1998; drew 2-2
41 full caps;  - goals
Youth caps; goals
Belgian League Champions winners medal 2001-02  (KRC Genk)
League Cup winners medal 2007-08 (THFC)
League Cup runners-up medal 2008-09 (THFC)
Spanish Cup winners medal 2010  (Sevilla)

Milestones
- appearance

2007

Footballing hero :  Zinedine Zidane
Best player played against :  Steven Gerrard
Superstition :  Thinks of his dead brother before each game
Boots :  Realises he should not wear red boots !!
Favourite book :  Nelson Mandela's biography

2008

First record :  Les Garagistes (Ivorian band)
Music : - Enjoys 50 Cent, Bobby Valentino among others.
When young enjoyed :  Basketball and karting
Mother's occupation :  Teacher
First crush :  Halle Berry
First foreign holiday :  Gran Canaria 2004
First boots :  Adidas Copa Mundial
Worst haircut :  Dyed yellow when at St. Etienne
First team :  Zoman FC (Abidjan)
First senior goal :  A header from a corner for Genk v Werder Bremen (UEFA Cup)
First time at hospital :  Admitted with Malaria
First car :  Ford Focus
First major honour :  Belgian championship winner with Genk in 2002
First international :  v Tunisia 1998 as an 18 year old - played second half
Other sports played :  Tennis
After retiring from the game :  Would like to go into coaching, perhaps back in Ivory Coast

2009

Do you enjoy travel ?  I enjoy visiting other countries and other cultures and seeing how people live in other parts of the world.  But I must admit that I don't really enjoy flying, especially on smaller planes.
Your favourite country :  South Africa it's a lovely country.  I've been to Durban and Cape Town, both very nice cities.
Favourite holiday destination :  Gran Canaria I've been there with my wife and it is the ideal holiday destination.
Favourite Journey :  When I go back home to Ivory Coast to see my family
Favourite car :  I have been lucky to drive a Ferrari, a Lambourghini and an Aston Martin, but at the moment, I have a Bentley and that is my favourite.
Favourite magazine :   Maybe Closer, just to see what the celebrities are up to.
Do you read much ?  :  Yes,  like to read a lot.  Reading gives stability in my life and makes you more able to provide an opinion on things.  I only read books in French and at the moment I am reading one written by Aime Cesaire.
Do you like music on the move or prefer radio/tv ?  :  I love music playing on my iPod and I like singing too, but my voice is terrible.  At home or in the car I always have music on.
How many CDs have you got ? :  I don't have many CDs, but have thousands of songs on my iPod.  I also watch MTV quite a bit.
Most played track ?  :  Before a game, I like listening to African music because it gives me power, but when relaxing, I like R&B.
What was the last DVD you watched ? :  films ?  Not much no. I spend time with my family or listening to music rather than watching films.
Whose dance moves did you copy ?  In Africa, everybody loves to dance and it comes naturally, so I didn't copy anyone.
Whose poster was on your bedroom wall ?  George Weah was the first African player to make it big.  I didn't have posters of him, but he inspired me.
First football memory :  I spent seven years in the ASEC academy from the age of about 12, so they were my first memories.  I made some good friends there Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Solomon Kalou.  When I look back now on my career, I realise how lucky I was to have such a great opportunity to become a top player.
Who was the best player you played with when you played with your mates ? :  He wasn't that lucky and is playing in the Belgian league, but I had a friend called Joss, who was a fantastic player and should have enjoyed more success than he had.
What other sports did you play at school ?  :  There were no other sports apart from football !!
Did you have a pet when you were young ?  My mum had a cat.
Had you been to White Hart Lane before you signed for Spurs ?  No.  I'd only seen it on TV before that, but I knew about the history and tradition of the club.  When I first played here, it was fantastic.  The fans are so close to the pitch and I like that.  It creates pressure, but when you play well and the fans are behind you, it gives you great motivation.
What would you save if your house is on fire ?  :  Nothing at all.  As long as my family is OK.
What talent would you like to possess ?  :  I'd like to play guitar or piano.
Do you prefer to live in the town or country ? :  I prefer to live in the city.  I like the cosmopolitan nature of a big city.
Your childhood ambition :  My dream was to play football.  I started kicking a ball about in the street when I was six.
What are you most proud of ?  :  When I play for my country it makes me very proud.  When we go home we are treated like idols.
Ideal all-time flight companion ?  :  Nelson Mandela.  He is an inspiration to so many people and an amazing person.

 

 

What they said about Didier Zokora
about playing in the 2008 League Cup winning team ...  06.01.2009 (THFC programme)

"It was a fantastic moment in my life in one of the best stadiums in the world.  Just having the opportunity to play at Wembley was amazing anyway, but to got here and beat Chelsea the way we did, with my family all there to see me, it doesn't get any better.  I did win the league in Belgium, but to collect a winners medal with Spurs in such an important cup final felt really special.."

about playing under Harry Redknapp ...  06.01.2009 (THFC programme)

"I know my quality.  I prefer to play in midfield, but most important is the team.  If Harry asks me to play left back or right back, I'll do it.  It's not about me and where I play, it's all about the team and getting the result.  When we play well, I am happy."

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