In 2006 Tomas Kafka was named best floorball goalie in the world. Ten years later he’s still on the top of his game. How to stay up there for over twenty years and why the Czech media love to call him “detective”.

“They tought, it’s something with flowers”

When Tomas Kafka’s player career started in the mid 90’s, there were 300 registrated floorball players in the country. 21 years later it’s 40.000. Back then the highest competition was played in a tournament mode. Once a month all twelve teams got together at one place. Two matches on saturday, one on sunday. “Nobody knew what floorball was. They thought it’s something with flowers, because of the ‘flor’ in it”, remembers Kafka for ceskyflorbal.cz.

A lot of drinking was involved at these tournaments, he says. “It was more local, so the players knew each other better. On the other hand, there was a stronger rivalry on the field. They were more emotional about it. Less skill, more emotion. Today it’s the other way around.”

During the following two decades Kafka reached all a Czech goalie could reach. The 193cm-tall keeper won the Czech title 15 times (thanks to a very dedicated style) and gathered one silver and two bronze medals from the World championships. Because of his work, Kafka hesitated trying his luck abroad. In 2011 he was transferred to Balrog for the second part of the season. Kafka should help the team to stay in the Superligan, but Balrog relegated anyways.

True detective

They like to call him “detective”. Besides his on court activities, Kafka is as well partner at Ernst & Young, leading the department of Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services. A segment also responsible for the fight against corruption. This made it pretty easy for the Czech media to make a “Magnum p.i.” of him.

Old School. For many years Kafka was happy with his legendary Phantom helmet. / Photo by Cesky Florbal
Old School. For many years Kafka was happy with his legendary Phantom helmet. / Photo by Cesky Florbal

The Tokio born Kafka has made a stellar career at the prestigious audit firm. And he knows that. He ran for a position in the executive committee of the Czech floorball federation – a job he didn’t get. “Due to my experience I can name and analyze problems in an organization, in its people, and I can help to correct them”, he told to the newspaper iDnes in 2014. “With all respect to the guys who are doing the federation job now, nobody of them has experiences from real business.”

Kafka didn’t like the way how the redistribution of funds was working, leaving a lot in the federation pot and giving only too little to the clubs. He was also criticizing the very smooth discussion culture. Development needs contradicting opinions, constructive criticism, Kafka said, something he was missing in the federation.

“Staying on top”

But floorball develops well in the Czech Republic and Kafka has no reason to complain either. Today, at the age of 38, “Bolek” (how his friends call him) is still a key player to Tatran and to the national team. “In the last seasons it’s more about ‘staying on top’ than about ‘getting better'”, he says. Though, before the last WFC, Kafka lost 8 kg in 60 days. “Around 100 is good, slightly above is fine, but when I had 106, I felt tired and slowed down”.

To stay in shape, Kafka avoids sugars and tries to eat meat and vegetables after his activities. For breakfast eggs, ham, proteins in general. No bread. Kafka knows his body and he knows what makes a keeper the best in the league. He loves to pass this know-how over to the younger generation.

During summer Kafka tries to visit youth camps all around the country as much as he can. If you ask him about advices for young keepers, we wants to be accurate. “It depends. The youngest should focus on their flexibility and agility. This you won’t get just by being a floorball goalie. You need to be doing different sports, as well, so you improve your motor skills and you lear to anticipate. It will also help your health, If you’re only a keeper, right from the youngest age, your body might suffer.

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