“Well if Nathi’s not playing, then neither am I!” Khaya stands up as he makes his announcement, looking across at the rest of the Streetskillz team.
One by the one team stands up, joining Khaya.
“Never in my life,” Reinecker says, spitting with anger, “have I seen a team act like this to their coach.”
“What’s going on here?” a voice says from the doorway.
Everybody turns to see Mr. Naidoo standing with Henry.
“This team,” Reinecker says acidly, “are refusing to do what I tell them.”
“Because what you’re telling us to do is wrong,” I say. “You’ve told me to injure another player purposefully. I’m not going to do that.”
“Lies,” Reinecker says, “this is who I have to work with, liars and cowards.”
“Karl,” Mr. Naidoo says firmly, “Henry says you told him that if he didn’t tackle Nathi hard in practice, he’d be off the team and back on the street.”
So that’s why Henry has been acting so strangely! Reinecker has been filling his head with lies too. I can’t believe I didn’t figure this out sooner.
“These accusations are very serious,” Mr. Naidoo says, “I know both Henry and Nathi to be honest boys who wouldn’t make this sort of thing up.”
He walks across and points his finger at Reinecker.
“As such I’m relieving you of your position and asking you to leave the Streetskillz facility immediately.”
Reinecker’s face has turned purple and he’s sweating. He glares menacingly at Khaya and I, then turns and walks quickly toward the door.
“Come Harris,” Reinecker says to the red-haired boy.
Harris almost knocks me over with his shoulder as he passes, and then he and Reinecker quickly leave the building.
“I’m sorry Nathi,” Henry says, “I was just so terrified of going back to live on the street.”
I sigh and put my hand on Henry’s shoulder.
“I’m the one that should be saying sorry.”
The sense of relief in the room is immense. It feels like a huge, dark cloud has just vanished. I look across at the rest of the team and suddenly we’re all grinning broadly at each other. It feels like the real Streetskillz is back!
I turn to look at Mr. Naidoo. “So what now?”
Mr. Naidoo smiles and shakes his head. “Well despite the crazy circumstances, Streetskillz still has half a game left to play!”
WHAT DO YOU THINK? With half a game left to play, what do you think the Streetskillz last-minute strategy should be?