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Death at a funeral: Akeem’s passing prompts race to bandwagon

Acting Prime Minister Errol McLeod told the Trinidad Express yesterday that the national community should observe a minute’s silence for former two-time World Youth Cup player Akeem Adams, who passed away yesterday in Budapest, Hungary.

Unquestionably, the Trinidad and Tobago Government has taken the lead on this initiative. There were virtually three months of silence from McLeod and his Cabinet colleagues while the 22-year-old Adams fought for his life at the Varosmajori Heart Clinic.

Photo: Ferencvaros pays tribute to its former player Akeem Adams.
Photo: Ferencvaros pays tribute to its former player Akeem Adams.

Adams’ employer, Ferencvaros, met all the Trinidadian’s medical expenses but his mother, Ancilla Dick, had to relocate to Budapest to lend emotional support and approve the medical procedures necessary to give her son a fighting chance. Dick, who is a domestic worker by profession, needed groceries, winter clothing and a living allowance and the family pleaded for financial assistance.

But, when Adams needed them most, McLeod and company were rehearsing for their minute’s silence. And the Prime Minister who offered the nation discounted rice, oil and flour for Christmas never thought to give Dick and Adams a few TSTT phone cards to help the humble Point Fortin family communicate during this traumatic time.

“As a father I cannot begin to imagine the grief and despair his family is feeling in these difficult moments,” said Sport Minister Anil Roberts, via a press release. “Akeem was a talented young man who (…) stood as an example to many on how fully utilise all the gifts and talents bestowed on him by the Creator.

“He even faced his final challenge with an optimistic spirit and kept up the fight, right until the end.”

Photo: Former Ferencvaros manager Ricardo Moniz (right) and a player pay tribute to Akeem Adams before a league game.
Photo: Former Ferencvaros coach Ricardo Moniz (right) and a player pay tribute to Akeem Adams before a league game.

Roberts certainly never thought of Adams as his son, though. The Sport Minister flew all the way to Barcelona to cheer on his swimmer, George Bovell III, from poolside in Barcelona, Spain last August. But he never thought of repeating his voyage to Europe to offer a word of encouragement to Adams.

Instead, Adams’ then Portugal-born coach Ricardo Moniz visited him daily to help keep his spirits up.

“I am very sorry about the death of someone who has contributed so much to the sporting world and life of this country,” Point Fortin MP and PNM member Paula Gopee-Scoon told the Trinidad Guardian, “and he must be recognised for that.”

Goopee-Scoon told the Guardian that she planned to visit Adams’ family yesterday to offer condolences to the grieving family. But where was she with her comforting words and recognition of Adams’ sporting achievements when the family was desperate for hope?

Photo: Akeem Adams (left) represented Trinidad and Tobago at two World Youth Cup tournaments.
Photo: Akeem Adams (left) represented Trinidad and Tobago at World Youth Cup tournaments in the Republic of Korea and Egypt.

When former Barcelona football star Deco, who has never met the “Soca Warrior”, auctioned his Fluminese jersey to raise funds for the Trinidadian, where were Adams’ compatriots? (Barring, of course, the farcical fund-raiser done by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and Native Spirit).

Perhaps the most appropriate State tribute for Adams came from the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, which is mandated to handle the nation’s interests in Hungary.

Ambassador Margaret King-Rousseau and her staff did not say a word to the family or the public; just like they had failed to do for the last three months while a young man who flew the Trinidad and Tobago flag for the last seven years on four different continents battled against the odds with a mechanical heart.

Eastern Europe is not well known for its tender treatment of non-white guests. Yet if not for Ferencvaros, Adams would not have survived long enough to spend Christmas with his mother and brother, Akini Adams.

Photo: Ferencvaros paid glowing tributes to Akeem Adams although the Trinidadian only represented the club for a month and a half.
Photo: Ferencvaros paid glowing tributes to Akeem Adams although the Trinidadian only represented the club for a month and a half.

Ferencvaros will foot the bill to transport Adams and his family back home for the funeral too. Then, it will be time for Trinidad and Tobago to show some love for its departed son.

From the looks of things, Akeem Adams will not be short of wailers in jackets and ties and designer dresses. Politicians appear to have loved him more dead than alive.

When Adams suffered a tragic heart attack on September 24, doctors did not feel he would last the weekend. Instead, he fought long enough to be joking around his family on Christmas and Boxing Day.

For those who did more than just promise to say a word of prayer, Wired868 salutes you.

Rest in peace, Akeem Adams.


Editor’s Note: Click here to enjoy a beautiful, brief video tribute to Akeem Adams by his former club, Ferencvaros. And here is another clip of Budapest paying its respect to the Soca Warrior.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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  1. The message here is love your country and love your sport but please ignore politicians. Win your medals and secure your future…..ignore politicians.
    Frothy mouth start talking about insurance for national athletes, that should have been established long ago. Professional athletes working for foreign clubs have insurance but some sort of cross coverage is also needed when these persons are required to represent T&T. Athletes once again embrace your good fortune, make T&T proud, save, invest where ever possible and …ignore politicians.

    To the Adams family….”We can shed tears that he is gone, or we can smile because he lived. We can close our eyes and pray that he will come back, or we can open our eyes and see all he has left. Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him or you can be full of the knowledge he shared. We can cry and close our minds or we can learn what he taught, smile,open our eyes, love and go on” (adapted poem)


  2. A painful read, this article is… painful to the core. The politicians of Trinidad and Tobago never fail to disappoint, always successful, however, in raising my blood pressure.
    But a change for the better will come soon….
    Rest in peace my brother, rest in peace…

  3. It’s sad! I went to school with this young man at pickle so talented and humble kid! The government cares about no one but themselves… Flooding in a Caribbean country and immediate assistance and rapid response but here in our own country the government can’t see bout anything. The prime minister’s sister is ill, she made it her business to be at her bedside. One of our talented footballers fell ill and not her or any of her ministers showed up at his bedside or at the family’s residence. But the Great Nelson Mandela died she reached around the world to South Africa to pay tribute. What are the priorities of the prime minister and her team? They ought to he ashamed of themselves.

  4. Adams isten veled te voltàl a kedvencem. Örökké emlékezni fogok ràd! Fans Ferencvàros

  5. REALLY???????? ….. I was Patiently waiting to hear when ALL the Big Guns would finally come out of Hiding…. How Convenient to now speak up after my Cousin has Died and Gone … Not ONE TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Government Official took the time to place a Phone Call, a Greeting, take a Trip or even write a Letter in Support of Akeem… instead his Mother and Brother was left in Budapest to fend for themselves…Thank God for the People of Budapest who Opened their Doors and Hearts to them..As stated by His Mom to Me .. Their Generosity and Love went above and beyond what they expected… It’s so very Disappointing to know, that Akeem is a Son of the Soil and Represented Our Country Faithfully…Yet still NO ONE came Forward to Offer Support, I would gladly appreciate if Someone from TTFA or Ministry of Sports would explain what happened… Why was my Cousin placed on the Back Burner, It really Hurt to sit by and observe the Treatment that was dished out to them… Let’s see what is going to happen when His Body arrives in Trinidad and Tobago…. R.I.P Cuz… You have left a Legacy and together as a Family, we’ll ensure that it Lives On… Love You, Forever and a Day! .. Gone but You will NEVER be Forgotten… <3

  6. It’s really sad that so many officials remained quietly in the background when our ill athlete needed all the support he could get, but are coming forward now when he is no longer with us.

  7. So sad. Too soon. Young life but lived with a purpose. Condolences to his family from a Jamaican sister and Mom.

  8. Their words mean nothing. Do they really think anyone cares what they have to say now? They just sound like hypocrites. Where was the support when he really needed it? Sigh… same ole crap…just shut it…nobody wants to hear it! So infuriating!!