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ZOKORA Didier dit Maestro (former ivoirien international midfielder trained at the MimoSifcom Academy) :

“The MimoSifcom Academy has changed our lives”

ZOKORA Didier dit Maestro (former ivoirien international midfielder trained at the MimoSifcom Academy)

The MimoSifcom Academy. He has evolved in several major European clubs in Belgium (KRC Genk), in France (AS Saint-Étienne), in England (Tottenham Hotspur), in Spain (FC Seville), in Turkey (Trabzonspor, then Akhisar Belediyespor); then in India at the clubs of FC Pune city, then North East United and finally in Indonesia at semen Pandang. He was the 119th guest of the fair of shareholders, one of the flagship programs of RJN, to evoke his beautiful and rich career as a footballer, in three joints: itinerary, souvenirs and actuality.

 

Itinerary

start by talking about Sol Beni, the place where I grew up and where I gave a definitive orientation to my life. Sol Beni is a beautiful story for me, that of my youth, my life and my journey. I was born in Adjamé. But I grew up in Yopougon. I am from a modest family. I had the chance to meet a person who is very special to me. This is coach Jean-Marc GUILLOU. He went to all the neighborhoods of the various communes of Abidjan to find pure talents. I was playing in a neighborhood team, in Yopougon, called Zoman with whom I once participated in recruitment tests in Sol Beni. And I was chosen to be part of the first pupils of what would become the Academy MimoSifcom, the prestigious training center of ASEC Mimosas. It was in 1994. I was only 13 years old. Staying at the Academy MimoSifcom was very difficult. But I got hooked on this great opportunity that I had to get a place in the band. I lived there with other kids that I did not know before, but with whom we ended up forming a real sporting family and nurturing a common project and goal: become great international footballers Ivorian and mark our Generation. At the start and for 3 years, we went to Sol Beni in the mornings at 9:00, Monday to Friday and we would return home at the end of the day, at 19:00. It was after the Chairman of the Board of ASEC Mimosas, Mr. Roger OUÉGNIN, with the support of the SIFCOM group, had built dormitories and classrooms for us to live at the boarding school in Sol Beni. And for almost all of us, children from modest families in difficult conditions for some, this has changed our way of life through the air-conditioned rooms in which we now sleep, food, intellectual training and outings to the sea and international tours in Europe. We were taught to listen to Beethoven, Mozart, to speak French, English and Spanish so that we could adapt later to all the situations of a career of professional footballers. After, my younger brother ZOKORA Armand said Armando had joined me at the Academy MimoSifcom. Unfortunately, he died by drowning at age 15 at a seaside outing in Grand-Bassam, a few days before the Super Cup of African clubs. And that had disturbed me. But I had to rearm morally to move forward. And then, on Sunday, February 7, 1999, there was this great game of the Super Cup of African clubs in front of the hope sportive of Tunis that had just won the Cup winners Coupe 1998 CAF. We had just finished our training. Only President Roger OUÉGNIN and coach Jean-Marc GUILLOU had faith in us. The team of hope of Tunis was training at Sol Beni. And when his players saw us and told them that we were going to confront them, they were amazed and refused to believe it by saying, “it’s a joke. the ASEC will never make these kids play against us. It’s impossible. ” And yet, this is what happened and it is this match that will reveal to the whole world after our victory (3-1) against this great team of the hope sportive of Tunis. Weeks later, a number of the documentary ‘ ‘ Special Envoy ‘ ‘ of France2 showing our course of kids training barefoot in Sol Beni until this historic final of the Super Cup has made us a real favourite of the sports public in Côte Ivory Coast and around the world. After our first season in professional team of ASEC Mimosas, in 1999, I was the first young player of the first promotion of the Academy MimoSifcom (promotion Johan) to be transferred to a European club, precisely at KRC Genk, Belgium. Aruna DINDANÉ followed by placing his suitcases in Anderlecht, still in the same country. From Genk, I left for France, to the AS Saint-Étienne where I spent two wonderful seasons before evolving in Tottenham Hotspur, England; at FC Seville, Spain; in Trabzonspor, then in Akhisar Belediyespor, Turkey; then to FC Pune city, then to North East United, India and finally to semen Pandang, Indonesia. It was in this last country that I ended my career as a footballer. The qualities that allowed me to pass such a course are the sense of duty, the will, the collective spirit on a field, the love and passion of football. »

 

Memories

“I will speak first of my bad and then of my worst memories before mentioning the best. The bad ones are the fact of not having won the title of champion of Ivory Coast with the first team of ASEC Mimosas during the only season that I spent within it, in 1999. Then there is our shattered dream during the Olympic Games playoffs Sydney 2000 (Australia) and the fact that after 20 years in the national team, 5 final phases of the CAN and two lost finals, I never won this competition. My worst memories are the deaths of my little brother ZOKORA Armand said Armando who was promised a brilliant career as a footballer when we were still at the Academy MimoSifcom, then my father who was my mentor when I was evolving at FC Seville in Spain . The death of Armando had hurt me very badly, but at the same time it had given me the strength to play each game background and succeed a good career. Every time I was on a field, I was practicing and playing for the two of us, because our dream, him and me, was to evolve at the high level like the brothers KALOU (Bonaventure and Salomon) and TOURÉ (Kolo and Yaya). My best memory is the final of the African Super Cup of clubs that we won in February 1999. The FHB stadium was practically empty at the beginning of the game. After 20 minutes of play, I noticed that the grandstands had become black in the world. Everyone who watched the game live on TV went to the FHB Stadium to live the beautiful football that allowed us to beat the great team of the hope sportive of Tunis (3-1) after extension. » 

 

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“at the end of my career as a professional footballer, I returned to Abidjan. I still have a passion for football, but I have other activities that I devote to and do not want to talk about. I keep good relations with the leaders of ASEC Mimosas, my trainer Club. Every week I go to Sol Beni to exchange with my former teammates Baky KONÉ (current President of the football section), N’DRI Koffi Xiaomi (coach of the reserve team) and BEUGRÉ Ahiba Hermann says Patceco (coach of the U14 of the Academy MimoSifcom). Finally, I will say that I learned a lot from my mistakes. The great lesson I have learned from life is this. The love of neighbor is the best feeling that can make the happiness of mankind. So I hope that all Ivorians nourish this feeling to live in Union and peace for the happiness of our country. »