Tricksta flicks the ball up with his feet, catches it on the back of his neck and then rolls it down an arm and back to his feet. On my way to visit my friend Stanton to get some Internet access, I’ve bumped into Tricksta, and as usual am awed by his skills. I clap and Ronaldo barks in appreciation.

Tricksta’s real name is Denver, but everyone uses his nickname because he’s constantly showing off with a soccer ball. Despite his skill he doesn’t actually play soccer, saying that he prefers to keep the ball to himself.

“I’m going to win the tricks championships,” Tricksta says. In all the excitement, I’d forgotten that a tricks competition was part of the Streetskillz tournament.

Tricksta flicks the ball onto his knees and stands juggling it from knee to knee.

“Rose has entered,” says Tricksta, “tell her that she doesn’t stand a chance.”

“Rose doesn’t seem to want to talk to me,” I mutter to myself as I walk toward the building where Stanton works.

Stanton is a guard for one of the industrial business parks along Potsdam road. I met him in a taxi – we got talking about soccer and he’s promised to teach me to surf when summer comes.

When I reach the gate and knock on the glass of the guardhouse, a shaggy blonde-haired head wearing a cap that says “Security” sticks out of the window.

“Howzit, bru,” Stanton says and holds out his hand for our usual handshake, gripping my hand before we click thumbs. He opens the door of the guardhouse and lets me in. The walls are plastered with surfing posters and rock music blasts out from the speakers on his small hi-fi.

“Can I use the ‘Net?” I ask.¬†

Stanton has a computer hooked up to the Internet in his guardhouse.

“Sure, but not too long if my boss catches you here I’m in big trouble.”

Cool, now I can check in to my favourite online soccer forum and discuss last night’s game with my friends. People from all over the world log onto the forum every day to talk about soccer and I’ve got friends in England, Nigeria and even from Slovakia. It’s pretty cool.

I’m about to respond to a comment about what tactics Germany should use in the semi-final against Spain when I hear an unfamiliar voice behind me.

“Stanton what’s going on here, why is this boy on my property?”

I whip round to see a man standing in the doorway of the guardhouse. He’s big with a dark beard peppered with grey.

“Mr. Khumalo…” Stanton stutters, “he umm…”

Mr. Khumalo holds a hand up for silence. He looks angry. I freeze. What kind of trouble am I in?

Image: dannyX0, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Nathi likes looking on the Internet for soccer news. What Internet sites do you go to most often?