Tonight’s friendly international between Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand from 7.15 p.m. at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain will prove a useful run out for both teams, but will be more significant for its support of Akeem Adams.
The national footballer had his career ended abruptly almost three weeks ago when he suffered a massive heart attack that left him needing a heart transplant, and without his lower left leg, ironically his favoured playing foot.
The outpouring of support for the young man has been promising thus far. “I Support Akeem” T-shirts have been in demand, and the T&T Football Association (TTFA) seemed to be upbeat about ticket sales ahead of match day, today.
Following yesterday’s pre-match press conference at Trotters Sports Bar on Maraval Road, Port of Spain, TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips told the Express that he had no confirmed numbers thus far, but was pleased with the showing of public support for the player.
That the player’s condition has improved enough for him to be taken off anaesthesia, and is “communicating” with his family and medical staff is a positive step. That was also confirmed by TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee.
“Not only are we going to play to put some more joy in the hearts of our national community,” Tim Kee related, “but also to demonstrate our care and love for our people, and in particular, our player Akeem Adams, who I understand has just come out of the comatose position, or anaesthesia, and is now communicating with his people around him, which is a good sign. I hope that [today’s] game will see our stadium full.”
T&T coach Stephen Hart told the Express, after the press conference, that the team was hit hard by the news of Adams’ condition, which provided a sober dose of reality.
“I think it’s been a little bit difficult because so many of the players were close to him. It also was difficult, because you soon realise that what we do is so small in perspective to real life.
“What happened to Akeem is real life problems, the real world, and we live in a fantasy world of football, and thinking a football result is the more important thing. I think a lot of reality hit home to a lot of the players, and it will be very emotional come Tuesday night.”
Even the New Zealand players were touched by the outpouring of support for the ailing player. Captain Winston Reid offered his sympathies for the player’s situation, and coach Ricki Herbert, the All Whites’ support.
In fact, the visiting team will don jerseys in support of the player as they warm up for the match.
“We’d also like to acknowledge the support for Akeem Adams,” Herbert said, “and from the New Zealand contingent, we will certainly like to support anything we can around that.”