“Look at this!” Rose says paging through my dad’s book. “Your father wasn’t just a soccer player, he was a soccer genius!”
She shows me a page.
“A detailed play book!” she says flicking the page. “Strategies, tips and advice. It’s brilliant! Look here, a strategy for playing against a very athletic team like the Brazillionaires. Silver says you need to slow the pace down and keep possession of the ball.”
The whistle blows for the start and I smile gratefully at my girlfriend before I head back.
“You’re the genius,” I yell to her from the field.
“No arguments there,” she shouts back with a grin.
I run over to where Khaya, Henry and Chippa are standing.
“We need to slow the game down,” I say. “Just concentrate on keeping possession of the ball and keep passing it until we see an opening.”
“C’mon! They’re already 2-0 ahead, we need to attack straight away.” Khaya retorts irritably.
“They’re already 2-0 ahead so we can’t exactly lose anything by trying things my way, can we?” I persevere.
Khaya sighs. “Ok, let’s do this.”
We take our positions and wait for the restart. When the whistle blows the Brazillionaires swing the ball wide, but its intercepted by Khaya. Instead of taking it forward and attacking like he usually does, he passes the ball back to Henry, who immediately passes it to me.
We keep the ball between us, passing it back and forth, looking for an opening. I soon notice that the Brazillionaires start making mistakes when the pace of the game is slowed down.
I spot the defense move out of position and then feint a pass to Khaya, then move the ball quickly forward and crack a long-range shot from outside of the box. The ball curves in the air and smashes like a missile into the top left corner of the net.
“Unbelievable!” Khaya shouts, running and jumping on my back.
Henry jumps on me too and we crumple to the ground.
Using Silver’s strategy we dominate the restart with ultra-slow, technical soccer, which frustrates the Brazillionaires so much they lose their focus and begin to get really sloppy.
Khaya takes advantage of the mess and pounds a volley home into the net. Soon after, Henry scores an easy goal from a free kick.
The whistle blows and the Streetskillz team crowd around the goal scorers in delight.
“That was incredible soccer!” Mr. Naidoo exclaims. “Who thought out the new strategy?”
“I’ll show you at practice,” I say with a grin.
WHAT DO YOU THINK: Khaya and Nathi have become friends. Have you ever become friends with someone that you didn’t like at first?