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Zokora quits Ivory Coast

08 September 2014, 20:30

Abidjan - Ivory Coast defender Didier Zokora announced Monday in an interview with the national press that he is calling time on his international career.

The 33-year-old, who plays for Turkish club Akhisarspor, retires after winning 117 caps with the national side.

"After giving 15 years of my life with six CAN (African Cup of Nations) participations and three World Cups, I think you have to know when to stop," he said.

"I think I've given a lot to my country. Everything comes to an end, and you have to know when to go. It's my decision," he continued.

"I've informed FIF (Ivorian Football Federation) bosses of my decision. And it's true they tried to change my mind. But I no longer have the desire and the same motivation. It's time to leave the way open to young players."

Also read: Ivory Coast will allow Sierra Leon in

Zokora made his international debut in 2000 and played his final match for the Elephants at the World Cup on June 19 in a 2-1 defeat to Colombia.

He started his club career at ASEC Mimosas in Abidjan, before heading for Europe where he played in Belgium with Genk (2000-2004), French side Saint-Etienne (2004-2006), England's Tottenham (2006-2009) and Spanish outfit Sevilla (2009-2011) before heading to Turkey and Trabzonspor (2011-2014) followed by Akhisarspor.

He becomes the second Ivorian stalwart to retire in recent weeks after emblematic captain Didier Drogba who called time on his career last month.

The Ivory Coast have appeared at the last three World Cups but have never managed to get beyond the group phase. Zokora featured in the sides that lost the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2012.

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