The Estonian left-back Risto Kallaste became known in the 1990s for his special interjections – these are now banned.
It is only on rare occasions that a throw-in is followed by a serious scoring opportunity in football. In the 1990s, however, Risto Kallaste caused a revolution in this regard.
The left-back played for FC Flora in Estonia, among others, and he also played for clubs in Sweden and Denmark. Why were his incredible interjections banned again so quickly?
Somersaults as a trademark of Risto Kallaste
Risto Kallaste’s football career was definitely not an exceptionally successful one. Nevertheless, he managed to attract a lot of attention with his throw-ins.
Kallaste, born in 1971, was characterized by throw-ins that were almost like crosses. But with a special feature: In order to get more momentum, he did a somersault before the throw. His throws then flew almost 40 meters wide.
The idea did not come from the left-back himself, but from his coach at the time, Roman Ubakivi. He trained these throw-ins with several players in order to end up giving one player exactly this job. After a casting, the choice fell on Kallaste.
“It was the best way to throw the ball as far as possible. The opponent didn’t expect the ball to fly so far into the field from the touchline. That way we were able to introduce a certain ‘surprise factor’ into our game and were hoping to score a few goals, which wasn’t the case later on,” said Kallaste.
Reason unclear: Associations prohibit somersault throw-in
An interjection that became more and more well-known, but was short-lived. Because at some point the federations decided to ban it without any particular reason, as it was a normal, regular throw-in that had never been penalized during the game.
Not even in the match between Italy and Estonia in April 1993, which was a qualifier for the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Kallaste made the same throw-in and became really famous as a result.
“I remember the astonished faces of the players on the pitch, wondering what I was doing. The referee didn’t say anything to me: maybe he didn’t know what to do, and when in doubt he pretended nothing would have happened instead of banning it,” Kallaste said.
Today, Kallaste follows football from afar while tending to his company, which imports sporting goods and household products. Football will hardly forget him, however: he was the first to try a throw-in that even some tried to imitate. The last to try this on the big stage was Iran’s Mohammadi – who, however, never came close to Kallaste in terms of execution and the flight distance of the ball.