Bra Themba closed his eyes. He jerked his head backwards and blew another smoke ring into the air. “But, you will pay back all my money, sonny. You’ll work for me for free until you’ve paid all your debt.”

Ace nodded. “Yes, yes! Bra Themba, I will.”

“And from now, you’ll only sell my stuff at the tavern. So, no more soccer for you, sonny.”

Ace froze for a moment, his lip dropped. “No more soccer? But soccer is what I…”

Bra Themba swivelled around, fuming. “Is there a problem?” His face glittered with anger that scared Ace to his stomach.

Ace swallowed what he wanted to say and shook his head.

“Good! You see, sonny. It’s either that or …” Br Themba said and moved his thumb across his throat. Then he turned towards Zorro. “Just make sure that you get the fool who stole my coke.”

“Don’t worry, boss. I’ll get the fool and deal with it.”

Bra Themba meant what he said. He didn’t allow Ace to go to practice. Pele tried to call, but Ace blocked his calls. He didn’t know how to tell his coach that he couldn’t play soccer anymore.

But Pele did not relent. He visited Bra Themba in his office, and begged, “Please, broer. Just let this boy play. He is very good. He can go far.”

“Like I said before, this boy is not playing soccer anymore. That’s final. Stop wasting my time. And yours too,” Bra Themba insisted, standing behind the desk.

“Why? What did he do?”

“I think you should just leave, man. Just forget about Ace. You don’t even know him, anyway.” He paused, then called, “Zorro! Please take this man out of my office.” He turned away from Pele and started writing something down in his diary.

Pele left the tavern, disappointed. But as he walked past Ace he surreptitiously shoved a note into his pocket. As soon as Zorro went inside, Ace read the note. It was an advert with all the information about the Ke Yona Team Search. His heart bled when he realised that he wouldn’t be able to go there. There was no way Bra Themba would allow him.

What should he do? He couldn’t miss this opportunity, but he couldn’t betray Bra Themba. Not again, otherwise the consequences would be deadly.


Tell us: What will Ace do?