This photograph taken on April 26, 2017 shows former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Didier Zokora (R) taking part in a football practice session in Padang, West Sumatra. (AFP Photo/Tanhar)
The second big foreign signing to be axed in the new national league in just a week.09 August 2017 14:31
Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Didier Zokora has been released by Semen Padang, the club said Wednesday, becoming the second big foreign signing to be axed in Indonesia's new national league in just a week.
The Ivory Coast international, who only signed for the Padang-based club four months ago, had his contract terminated on August 2 for financial reasons, club manager Win Bernadino said.
His departure comes after former West Ham United and Chelsea striker Carlton Cole was sacked last week after failing to find the net in four months with Persib Bandung.
Bernadino said Zokora had played well, but Semen Padang lost a major sponsor before the second round of the inaugural Liga 1 kicked off this month.
"We're talking about the club, the financial situation of the club, so that was the most rational way to save the club," Bernadino said.
Zokora took to social media to bid his former club and fans farewell.
"Thanks for everything. I never forget you [sic]," he wrote on Twitter.
Top-flight football returned to Indonesia in 2017 after a two-year hiatus caused by in-fighting.
Liga 1 replaced the former top-level league, which was halted in 2015 due to a row between the government and Indonesia's FA that triggered turmoil and prompted a one-year ban by FIFA.
Several big-name stars, including former Chelsea player Michael Essien and ex-Stoke City forward Peter Odemwingie, joined Indonesian clubs at the start of the new season.