The ball sails toward me and I stop it with my chest, then play it forward. My mind is racing. Nails and Shorty are in the audience! The Dragons tall captain checks me with a heavily tattooed forearm and then pushes me off the ball.
The Dragon takes the ball into the Streetskillz half, but luckily I manage to tackle him and play the ball safely out to Chippa.
Khaya jogs up to me.
“That’s Tong,” he tells me, “he’s incredibly good. You need to watch out.”
“I saw them!” I hiss.
“What?” Khaya says, “Who?”
“Nails and Shorty!”
Khaya’s eyes widen but he has no time to reply as Chippa passes the ball over to him. Khaya moves the ball forward and then chips it back to me. I sidestep a Dragon player, take the ball to the edge of the box and take a long, half-hearted shot at goal.
Khaya calls a time-out and grabs me by the arm, leading me over to where Mr. Naidoo is standing.
“Nathi saw those two tsotsis here,” Khaya says, “We’ve got to do something.”
Mr. Naidoo looks surprised. “Really Nathi?” he says. “The police are looking for them. Surely they wouldn’t come here?”
Suddenly I feel doubtful. Maybe I hadn’t really seen them?
“Well, don’t worry,” Mr. Naidoo says, “I’ll speak to security about it. Even if they are here they won’t be able to get to you.”¬†
He pats me on the shoulder.
“Now get out there and concentrate on the game.”
I smile and nod, but I can’t get the image of Nails and Shorty out of my mind.
The game restarts and the Dragons push forward, Tong passing the Streetskillz defense and drilling a goal into the top right hand corner. The Dragons roar.
Khaya jogs over to me.
“So what’s the game plan?” he says. “You’re the captain, tell us what to do!”
I stare blankly at him. I can’t think of anything but Nails and Shorty.