The unrealised importance of Didier Zokora to the Lilywhites

Tamhas Woods

Many people will be surprised to know that Didier Zokora, now 36, retired from the Ivory Coast international side only thirty-two months ago. Impressively, he did so as the country’s most capped player.

His retirement from club football is now surely imminent, and the world will be poorer for it.

What many neutrals may not recall is his ability to command a midfield to recovery, after a poor start to a season by his club. Strangely, this scenario unfolded in all three of his seasons at Tottenham, from 2006/07 to 2008/09. Arguably, it was in his final season at White Hart Lane that this unwanted annual challenge proved most daunting.

Didier Zokora
Zokora currently plays for Northeast United over in India. A model professional, he will be missed when he retires.
Image Source: Twitter

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Spurs overcome pain at the lane

Picture the scene: it is 5.25pm on the first day of November 2008 – a dank and cold evening in North London. Tottenham Hotspur, in their tunnel of destiny, face trailblazing league leaders Liverpool in a ‘six-pointer’ with massive ramifications at each end of the table.

In mere minutes, twenty-two warriors will emerge, and amongst them is an Ivorian midfield general by the name of Didier Zokora. Unbeknownst to him, he is about to marshal his midfield teammates to a pivotal result in the history of Tottenham Hotspur.

It is to be one of six memorable Tottenham games for the Ivorian. See the gallery and behold some African gold!

Didier Zokora – the legacy lives on

After that game, Tottenham were mostly unplayable at home, and by virtue of turning White Hart Lane into a fortress, Redknapp’s men finished an impressive eighth.

Zokora’s efforts provided Redknapp with the midfield blueprints for 2009/10 after his departure for Sevilla. As the new decade approached, Tottenham grew much in strength and became an exceptionally difficult team to break down. Subsequently, they qualified for the Champions League for the very first time in May 2010.

It was an unbelievable change in form and fortune for the club that, less than two years previously, had recorded its worst ever start to a league campaign.

While you’re here, take a look at the 2008 League Cup winning Tottenham team and see where they are now!

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