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 By John Duerden

Ex-Tottenham midfielder Didier Zokora leaves Indonesia's Semen Padang

Semen Padang will not be looking for a big-name replacement after the Indonesian side released Didier Zokora halfway through the Liga 1 season.

The former Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla hard man has been let go, as the struggling club look to cut costs.

"Didier Zokora was released to make the team more efficient," Semen Padang team manager Win Bernadino said.

"This is given the high operational costs that we must meet to stay in the league. With conditions that we have, management needs to make savings."

Terimakasih Fandri dan Zokora @semenpadangfcid resmi melepas 2 pemain jelang bergulirnya putaran kedua. Fandri Imbiri dilepas karena permintaan pemain sendiri. Didier Zokora dilepas karena efisiensi yang dilakukan tim. Hal ini mengingat operasional cost di Liga 1 yang tinggi membuat tingginya pengeluaran klub. Disamping itu, juga belum adanya kejelasan kontribusi rating TV untuk klub yang berlaga di Liga 1. Namun jika melihat statistik Zokora secara individual dinilai cukup baik. Dengan kondisi seperti ini, sehingga Manajemen perlu melakukan penghematan. Meski demikian, untuk menjaga konsistensi tim dan bersaing dengan klub di liga 1, Manajemen tetap akan menambah beberapa pemain yang dalam waktu dekat akan diperkenalkan ke publik.

A post shared by Semen Padang Football Club (@semenpadangfcid) on

Zokora joined the team in April and started just eight games in his short spell without getting on the score sheet. But Semen Padang have recovered from some poor form to move into in ninth position in the 18-team league. 

There were some complaints from fans and media that the 36-year-old was not active enough in the middle, but Bernadino claimed that the performances had not been disappointing.

"If you look at Zokora's individual statistics, then we can consider that he was good enough."

The official noted however that, with last week's departure of Carlton Cole from Persib Bandung, most big-name imports to head to Indonesia this season have not been especially expensive.

Michael Essien at Persib and Mohamed Sissoko at Mitra Kukar are still active, but the stand-out performer is former Stoke City and West Bromich Albion winger Peter Odemwingie who has scored 13 goals for league leaders Madura United.

Didier Zakora of Semen Padang
Ex-Ivory Coast hard man Didier Zokora started only eight games for Semen Padang.

"So far it can be seen players with marquee player status in Indonesia have not performed at the level you would expect. Only Madura United's show their ability as world class while others have not made a significant contribution," Bernadino said.

Semen Padang, who also released defender Fandry Imbiri, are looking for three or four players to strengthen their squad, but all are likely to be local.

Zokora earned 123 caps with Ivory Coast and played three seasons with Spurs between 2006-09, winning the 2007-08 League Cup.

Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.

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