Ace felt his legs shaking as he stood amongst other players, waiting, hoping for his name to be called. Was he among the best thirty players of the competition?
He had managed to make it to the forty-eight selected players who attended the three-day boot camp in Pretoria. He knew that if he could just make it to the best thirty players, his chance of making it to the final eighteen-man Nedbank Ke Yona Team would be great.
He had worked hard to impress the selectors during the boot camp and was determined. He told himself that he could not fail now, when he had risked so much to be there.
Ace felt his heart pounding in his chest, thinking how Bra Themba was probably right now searching for him. How couldn’t he, when Ace had run away without saying a word? The last time Bra Themba saw him was Friday morning of the first trial of the Team search.
Ace had made up his mind. Soccer came before anything. He had run to Pele’s house and the coach took him to the trials. Ace had confessed everything, from his reason for leaving home, through to the drugs being stolen.
Pele had insisted that Ace come and stay with him and had even helped register Ace at the nearby High School. Amazingly, Ace’s first term results were good.
“Number nineteen.” Ace felt light-headed when he heard the selector called that number. It wasn’t his. There was only one spot left! He was just about to acknowledge he had failed when the selector called out: “Number five!” His number. Excited, he jumped up and punched the air. He was in the best thirty.
“Congratulations boys. You made it to the last round. Remember, you can now invite your family members to attend the ceremony where the final eighteen-man team to take on SuperSport United will be announced. Good luck!” the selector said, and the players cheered, elated.
Ace felt like he was dreaming while sitting in a taxi to Tembisa. He didn’t even notice his surroundings. He was living in a world where he was already a star, playing in front of a packed stadium. Finally, the taxi stopped. He alighted and walked towards Pele’s home. He couldn’t wait to see his face. Ace had already called to give him the good news.
Then something unexpected shattered his daydream. Bra Themba’s car screeched to a halt in front of him. The rear door flew opened. Zorro pounced at Ace and dragged him into the car. Then Bra Themba sped off, heading towards his house. Ace tried to scream but Zorro silenced him by sticking a gun at his stomach.
“One word from your mouth, you’re dead!” Zorro snarled.
“Finally, ka go kereya (I got you), Judas!” Bra Themba said, looking at him via the rear-view mirror. “Today you’re going to meet your ancestors, sonny, that’s for sure!” he continued, anger painted on his face.
Tell us: Can drug dealers and gangsters ever escape from their bosses? Why or why not?