2010 FIFA World Cup: Kaka's Wild Red Card Proves Need for Video Replay

Bill HareCorrespondent IJune 21, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 20:  Kaka of Brazil in action during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group G match between Brazil and Ivory Coast at Soccer City Stadium on June 20, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

On the heels of the horrendous call by referee Koman Coulibaly disallowing a goal that the United States clearly earned against Slovenia, we have another totally unjustified call.

This one was a wild red card against Brazilian star Ricardo Kaka in the closing stages of the South American team’s 3-1 victory in its Sunday World Cup match against Ivory Coast.

Wild red does not refer to a drink flavor.  It refers to the erroneous nature of the call.  It was as wild and unjustified as the call against the U.S. in its 2-2 tie against Slovenia.

The same thing is being said concerning the call against Kaka that was said concerning the earlier thoroughly erroneous call.  The U.S., after all, should have played a better first half, in which case the call would not have been a factor.

Also, as long as the United States takes care of business and wins a game in which it is favored against Algeria, Koman Coulibaly’s call will be ultimately forgotten.

In the case of Kaka, he had been yellow carded earlier based on arguing in a game that was becoming increasingly hectic as it reached its conclusion.

The red card came as a result of an effort on the part of Abdul-Kader Keita that soccer analysts are describing as much better suited for the Hollywood cinema and Academy Award consideration than activity on the pitch.

It was Keita who ran into Kaka, as replays reveal from all angles.  Kaka was not even looking in that direction and Keita appears to have been involved in observing the action and did not see him.  Any acting performance would therefore have been spontaneous.

Kaka had recently received a yellow card.  A red card violation would end his day’s activity.  Along with depriving Brazil of a premier player, the team would end the match at a disadvantage.  While the 3-1 score might not have been altered by Brazil finishing the match with 10 players, if Keita was acting, the rationale was that it was worth a try on behalf of helping his Ivory Coast team.

Keita went down after running into Kaka, grimacing as he lay on the pitch.  Keita’s teammate Didier Drogba, the star performer for Ivory Coast who had been the leading scorer in the English Premier League, darted over to Kaka in a state of concern.

Kaka presumably explained to Drogba what those of us who saw the tape knew.  It had been an accident and it was Kaka who had been run into, not the other way around.  The brief conversation ended with Drogba walking away, apparently satisfied and giving no evidence of being upset.

So what are media sources saying about this call?  We do not need to worry since Brazil, with its 2-0 record, will advance to the round of 16.  Kaka’s absence will not derail Brazil’s chances of winning the World Cup.

An obvious question is begged concerning those calls and their significance.

Should it, after all, require a team to be deprived of a World Cup before serious concern should be registered?

Please note that Robbie Findley will not play for the U.S. against Algeria.  What if his loss is deemed by analysts to be a factor in a U.S. defeat should it occur?  Or if not a loss, a draw?  What then?

Before Koulibaly’s call that caused reverberations throughout the soccer world, Findley received a yellow card for handballing.  The replays all showed the same thing, that the ball played Findley rather than the other way around, and he should never have been carded.

If videotape replay became an element in World Cup matches one thing would be sure.  Granted, it would not be a panacea, but one thing would happen.

The play in question could be shown on giant stadium screens and referees would be compelled to view it at the same time as on-the-scene onlookers, who would be seeing it at the same time as television viewers throughout the world.

How about it, referees?  Would you refuse to budge under those pressure-ridden circumstances?

Would you stick to your guns with the whole world watching, aware of what you are also seeing?


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