Kaka on the 2008 Time 100 list – why?

The World’s Most Influential People in 2008 – Time 100.

I’m sure one can find many flaws with this list – as opinions go, everyone has one and we all think ours smells of roses. Fair enough, and I’m sure the editorial team at TIME magazine did their due diligence when compiling this list.

But having said that, and keeping in mind that this list was compiled not through public opinion but through the filter of what some people think matters most in the world, who put Kaka on this list?

As a footballer, he is, on form, incomparable and irresistible. As a human being, he leaves a good life and is a role model for football fans and kids everywhere, living proof that football does not equal sex, gambling and drugs.

Good, good, we all get that.

But how is he ‘influential’? He’s listed under the Heroes & Pioneers category, and if you go through the accomplishments of some of his fellow members on the list (Brangelina, Oprah, people working to resolve conflicts in Africa and curing diseases, people who have overcome unsurmountable odds, and people who are shining examples that we can be more than ourselves through our deeds in helping others), you start wondering about Kaka’s nomination. It smacks of a political message – the same message that shone through when Kaka won the World Player of the Year. That award was debatable but to an extent deserved.

This honour (if you choose to call it that) is farcical. Kaka is a great footballer and has my utmost respect. He is not, however, one of the 100 most influential people in this world, nor does he hold a candle to the heroes and pioneers mentioned in his category, not in achievements, not in the obstacles he’s faced and not in the time he’s spent on this planet. Any one of 3 would have provided some ammunition for his case (as his majestic performances in last year’s Champions League did for his World Player of the Year award).

All we know is that he’s publicly religious and an ambassador for the UN. A dozen other footballers tick the last bracket. A dozen other footballers can justifiably lay a claim to being one of the best players in contemporary football. Only one player ticks the first option. Guess who?

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