At 34 years old, Kaka is almost considered elderly by football standards. He has not been recently selected to play for Brazil’s national squad and was originally left out of the roster for Copa America Centenario. But after Bayern Munich’s midfielder Douglas Costa was lost to injury, Kaka was called upon.
His selection brings a much-needed experience boost to a Brazil national team still searching for an identity. Since the 2014 World Cup debacle, when Brazil suffered a 7-1 defeat against Germany to end its run on the sport’s biggest title, Brazil’s national squad has yet to excite its fans as it struggles with an uber-dependence on star player Neymar.
In the qualifying tournament for Russia’s 2018 World Cup, Brazil kicked off with a 2-0 defeat to Chile and struggled to draw with Argentina and Paraguay. Brazil is currently in sixth place after six rounds (out of a total of 18), not good enough to qualify for the World Cup Finals. Even with a bad showing in the continental tournament, the highly contested coach, Dunga, might keep his job. The priority for the Brazilian FA is the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the one tournament Brazil has never won. Anything less than a gold medal should mean the axe for Dunga.
Copa America Centenario is a special edition of the traditional South American national competition. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first edition, North and Central American countries will also be integrated. The tournament kicks off on June 3 with a match between hosts United States and the feared Colombian squad. Brazil plays its first match on the following day, against Ecuador, in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl.