“You look seriously hot in that soccer kit,” Rose says as I lace up my boots.
The crowd is filling up the stands at the Streetskillz facility and I keep looking nervously over at the TV cameras scattered around the pitch. Above the pitch is a large screen where the crowd can watch replays.¬†I take a deep breath.
“Hey relax,” Rose says, “even if you don’t make an impression with your unbelievable soccer, you’re bound to win over the fans with your handsome good looks.”
She winks at me.
I can’t help from grinning despite my nerves. I run my hands through her hair and pull her close to me.
“Dude, I’d love to hang out getting cozy with you, but don’t you think you should be bonding with your team right now, and not with me?”
“You get my attention completely and then you send me away – what is this?” I joke.
“Oh, you know. Pull them in close and then tell them to speak to the hand. Isn’t that what keeps men interested?” Rose teases. ‘Get out of here and go kick some butt boyfriend!
Shaking my head in amazement, I jog down into the changeroom where I find Khaya dressed and ready to roll.
Khaya smiles when he sees me enter.
“Who’d ever have thought we’d be happily playing on the same team?”
I smile back.
“If you were wearing your Leopard’s kit and I was in my Dynamite gear, I’d happily whip your behind,” I laugh. “But it’s different today.”
I suddenly feeling a surge of adrenaline as I think about the game that’s about to begin.
“Today we forget all about that. Right now we’re Streetskillz.”
Khaya nods and holds out his hand. I grip it and the two of us look at each other.
“Streetskillz,” Khaya says and I nod.
We form a line with the rest of the team. We’re so hyped up we’re all jogging on the spot as we wait for Mr. Naidoo to lead us onto the pitch.
“You’ve all proven that you’re good players individually, that’s why you’re here,” says Mr. Naidoo, “but only recently have your started to play like a team.”
His eyes flick across to Khaya, Henry and I.
“Although a team is a unit, it needs a captain. He holds up an armband between his fingers. It’s hard to decide but I think we all know who should wear this today.”
Mr. Naidoo looks at all of the players individually before his eyes rest on me. He holds out the armband. I take it and put it on.
The stands are full and the crowd roars as we jog out into the lights. The cameras swing round and follow us as we make our way towards our positions. I do my best to ignore them.
There’s another roar as the Dragons make their way onto the pitch. I’ve seen video footage of them playing, but up close they’re far more intimidating.¬†Their captain is a tall Asian guy with long, dark hair and fierce tattoos wrapped around his forearms. The team marches out in unison, like a well-oiled machine.
I start running through strategies in my mind. The Dragons look incredibly strong as well as technically proficient.
I’m deciding between game plans when something on the screen above the pitch catches my eye. I look up and feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach. There, sitting in the crowd, are Nails and Shorty.
WHAT DO YOU THINK: Nathi is sure he’s just seen Nails and Shorty in the crowd. What should he do?