“I’m open!” Khaya shouts.
I dribble the ball around the tall, red-haired Maiden midfielder, and then chip the ball over the box and onto Khaya’s head. Khaya whips his head forward and drives the ball into the net.
“Yes!” I shout, running over to where the Streetskillz team is jumping on Khaya.
Khaya turns to me and looks at me for a long moment before extending his fist.
I give it a friendly knock with my own.
“Maybe you’re not so useless,” Khaya says.
“Yeah, maybe you’re alright too,” I smile.
The game restarts and the Iron Maiden’s show that they’re not finished yet. They whip the ball through midfield and play it forward. Only great defending by our goalie keeps the ball out of the goal.
Henry jogs up to Khaya and I.
“You know how Mr. Naidoo said we should develop our own style?” he says. “Well how about we work it now? Otherwise we’re going to get beaten by the Maidens again.”
“Yeah like I’m going to take advice from a homeless guy,” Khaya says.
I give him my drop-dead look and Khaya relents.
“Okay, okay, we can all learn from each other,” Khaya says holding up his hands, “as long as I don’t have to stand too close to him.”
I roll my eyes, but nod for Henry to continue.
“The Maidens are strong and the Brazillionaires are acrobatic,” Henry says,
“what is Streetskillz good at?”
“We’re technically good. Mr. Naidoo has brought together players from all over the Western Cape, and we’re the most technically strong team in the league.”
“That’s right,” Henry says, “but we allow the Maidens and the Brazillionaires to dominate us with their type of play.”
“He’s right,” Khaya says, and Henry and I turn to look at him in astonishment.
“We’re technically strong but we’re all playing as individuals,” Khaya says. “We need to pass the ball around more and beat them with our combined skills.”
We smile and touch fists together. We’ve got a game plan! Now all we need to do is put it into action!
The game restarts and Henry quickly passes the ball to me. I chip it over to where Khaya is running up centrefield. Khaya dribbles for a few paces then pulls the ball back and passes it back to Henry. Henry plays a long ball to me and I spin past a Maiden defender and then crosses it to Khaya, who slams the ball into the net with a powerful volley.
The rest of the Streetskillz team erupts in celebration and Khaya grins at Henry and I as we lift him into the air. Khaya may have scored the goal, but he knows for a fact that he couldn’t have done it without us.
WHAT DO YOU THINK: Streetskillz have the beginnings of a game plan. How you would help them develop their own unique street soccer style.