BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Wednesday, 11 August 2010 17:31 UK

Zokora says 2012 Nations Cup may be his last

Barney Cullum
BBC Sport

Ivory Coast and Sevilla defender Didier Zokora
Zokora has 89 international caps for Ivory Coast

Didier Zokora says the Ivory Coast's senior stars will retire from international football if they do not win the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012.

The Elephants' most capped player with 89 caps, believes the competition represents the last chance for the 'golden generation' to win a trophy.

"If we don't win the next Africa Cup of Nations, I think a lot of us will stop and give the young players like Gervinho, Eboue and Kalou the chance to do so," Zokora told BBC Sport.

"For players like me, Kolo Toure and Drogba, I think it will be our last Cup of Nations."

Skipper Drogba will be 33 at the tournament hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, while Toure will be 30 and Zokora 31.

However, Zokora says the squad's character is improved following former coach Sven Goran Eriksson's short spell in charge of the side.

"Sven changed the mentality of the Elephants and I wish he would come back," Zokora said.

Eriksson was offered a contract extension following the World Cup in South Africa but terms could not be agreed.

"If I had the money I would pay for his salary myself but he is expensive," Zokora joked.

"Every player liked Sven. He was a gentleman and the tactics were very simple: receive the ball, look up, pass."

Eriksson deployed Zokora at centre-back in South Africa rather than in the midfield holding role he plays for Spanish side Sevilla.

He was in central defence again in the Elephants' impressive victory over 2006 world champions Italy on Tuesday.

"That win will really help us ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations [qualifiers] because Italy are one of the best teams in the world," the former Spurs star added.

"I like to play in midfield because I receive a lot of the ball there but I am happy to play in any position if it helps my team.

"I want to win something for the Ivory Coast and the next Africa Cup of Nations will be the best opportunity we have had."

The Ivory Coast begin their Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign with a match against Rwanda next month.

Print Sponsor

see also
Elephants beat Italy, lose Gili
11 Aug 10 |  African
Ivory Coast in talks with Gili
08 Aug 10 |  African
Ivory Coast close on Hiddink deal
03 Mar 10 |  African
Ivory Coast reveal Eriksson talks
07 Mar 10 |  African
Ivory Coast is more than Drogba - Toure
13 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.