“Nathi!” the Professor gasps, a surprised look on his face. “Why are you so upset?”
The old man’s puzzled expression makes me even angrier.
“I need to develop the killer instinct,” I say as I walk over to my bag and violently throw the strap over my shoulder. “If I’m going to become a pro, I have to put soccer before everything else.”
I turn around and stalk off, ignoring the Professor’s calls to come back.
As I get closer to my house the sun is setting in the distance. There’s a cold breeze blowing and I shove my hands into my pockets as I cut across Dumasani Road. I’m about to turn into my road when a familiar silver sports car pulls up next to me.
“Nathi,” Reinecker calls out, winding down the window, “how are your important decisions coming along?”
I nod seriously. Strangely enough I’m not in the least bit surprised to see him here this time.
“I’ve decided that soccer is the most important thing in my life.”
The German smiles and pounds the steering wheel of his car with the palm of his hand.
“That’s very good news, young man.”
I nod. It is good news. But for some reason I don’t feel very good.
“You look like you’ve been practicing,” Reinecker says.
I shrug. “I was meant to, but it was just a waste of time.”
Reinecker pushes open the door and gets out. A few of the kids from school walk past and I can hear them whistling and talking about the car. I feel a surge of pride standing there next to it.
“If your mom allows it, why don’t you come to the Streetskillz pitch tonight to practice?”
My eyes widen. “Really?”
Reinecker smiles and nods. “Only if your mother allows it.”
We walk across to the house and Reinecker speaks to my mother about the practice. She’s hesitant at first but eventually agrees and soon I’m getting into Reinecker’s sports car. The lighted displays on the dashboard of this baby need to be seen to be believed.
“This practice will teach you essential skills in your career as a soccer player,” Reinecker says over the sound of the car roaring to life, “I’ve got a few secrets to teach you that I used when I was playing for Germany.”