Trinidad and Tobago football fans will be able to donate towards the medical expenses of two-time former World Youth Cup defender Akeem Adams and support the “Soca Warriors” at the same time at the national senior football team’s upcoming friendly against New Zealand.
The Warriors will face New Zealand on Tuesday October 15 from 7.15 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. And Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips said that commemorative Native Spirit tee shirts will be on sale at the game for $100 each with all proceeds going towards the “Heart of a Warrior” fund on Adams’ behalf.
The 22-year-old Adams, who joined Hungarian top flight club Ferencvaros in August, is in ICU at the Varosmajori Heart Clinic in Budapest, Hungary after suffering a massive heart attack last week. He needs a heart transplant but doctors are waiting for him to stabilise before the operation.
Wired868 understands Adams is now conscious and able to communicate with his mother, Ancilla Adams, and brother, Akini Adams, who both joined him in Budapest on Sunday night at Ferencvarosi’s expense. Adams moved for the first time on Monday morning when he nodded to his mother and squeezed her hand.
Phillips said the TTFA will do its part to aid Adams’ recovery and urged local football fans to join in.
There will be a special commemorative section for Adams in the uncovered stands for $125; $50 from the price of those tickets will go to the Heart of a Warrior fund. Elsewhere, tickets are available for $75 (uncovered) and $100 (covered).
“Because of the unfortunate circumstances last week, this game will serve a dual purpose,” Phillips said, at a TTFA press conference today at the Hasely Crawford Stadium’s VIP lounge, “which is to prepare the team and also to help Akeem Adams and his family.”
TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee also revealed that children under-12, accompanied by their parents, would be allowed free entrance for the New Zealand friendly.
New Zealand was the only unbeaten team at the South Africa 2010 World Cup although the Oceania representative failed to advance from its group following three draws. The “Kiwis” face a play-off with CONCACAF’s fifth-place team to book its place at the Brazil 2014 World Cup and hope that the exhibition against Trinidad and Tobago would better prepare them for this challenge.
New Zealand is ranked 67th in the world by FIFA while Trinidad and Tobago is 85th.
National men’s coach Stephen Hart said he was excited about the upcoming match, which will be his first home game as Trinidad and Tobago coach. He suggested that putting on a good show for local football fans would be a unique challenge for his staff and players who have played just one game on local soil this year.
“Playing at home after a long spell on the road poses a completely different type of environment for us,” said Hart. “We continue to play these games with an eye on the future (and) we will continue the rotation of the squad.”
Two players already ruled out of the New Zealand exhibition match are Finland-based attacker Shahdon Winchester and Kazakhstan-based defender Robert Primus. Winchester is recovering from a virus and has not played competitively in over two weeks while Primus suffered a meniscus tear and might need surgery.
Hart is expected to select his squad to face New Zealand by next week.
Editor’s Note: The Akeem Adams Native Spirit tee-shirts are available for $100 at Native Spirit branches at Long Circular Mall (622-7969), Gulf City Mall (653-8282) and Trincity Mall (640-8264).
TTFA press officer Shaun Fuentes revealed on 31 October 2013 that only $25 from every $100 “I Support Akeem” tee-shirt sold will be sent to the player.