Akeem Adams, World Cup 2014, 2018 among the focus in T&T’s friendly against New Zealand on Tuesday

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart and players during a training session at the Larry Gomes StadiumTrinidad and Tobago’s friendly international against New Zealand on Tuesday from 7:15pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium is expected to attract scores of people in support of the recovery of hospitalised 22 year-old footballer Akeem Adams.

Adams, a professional player with Hungarian top-flight club Ferencvarosi TC, which he only joined on August 7 on a one-year contract, is in ICU at the Varosmajori Heart Clinic in Budapest after suffering a massive heart attack on September 25.

Since then the former T&T Under 17 and Under 20 World Cup defender, who has also served at Under 23 and Senior Team levels, underwent four life rescuing surgeries—the third to install a mechanical heart, and the fourth to amputate his left leg from below the knee as a result of necrosis (cell death) in his limb due to circulatory problems.

Akeem AdamsTo date, doctors are hopeful but still waiting on the former T&TEC FC and Central FC footballer’s condition to stabilise before attempting a heart transplant.

Various reports last week indicated that the defender has awaken from anaesthesia and taken off a ventilator despite remaining in critical condition, but there isn’t any official statement from Ferencvarosi.

“This is much more than just a football match on Tuesday,” said Central FC and T&T goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams.

Williams a former W Connection and Ferencvarosi goalie added, “It’s significant in many ways because we’re all putting our shirts, as players on the field of play and as supporters in the stands in support of one of our brothers who continues to fight for his life.”

Williams is among a 22-man squad selected by T&T head coach Stephen Hart for the New Zealand contest.

Trinidad and Tobago players during training at the Larry Gomes StadiumThe others area goalkeeper Marvin Phillips (Point Fortin Civic / T&T); defenders Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver Whitecaps / USA), Justin Hoyte (Middlesbrough / England),
Aubrey David (Caledonia AIA / T&T),
Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force / T&T)
Sheldon Bateau ( KV Mechelen / Belgium) Mekeil Williams (W Connection / T&T)
Radanfah Abu Bakr (FC Voztok /Kazakhastan)
Kevan George (Columbus Crew / USA); midfielders
Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA / T&T),
Hughtun Hector (Song Lam Nghe /
Vietnam),
Khaleem Hyland (Racing Genk / Belgium),
Kevin Molino (Orlando City / USA),
Andre Boucaud (Notts County / England),
Marcus Joseph (Point Fortin Civic / T&T),
Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava / Slovakia),
Ataulla Guerra (Rovaniemen Palloseura / Finland),
Cordell Cato ( San Jose Earthquakes / USA); and forwards Willis Plaza (unattached),
Rundell Winchester (Central FC / T&T)
and Kenwyne Jones (Stoke City / England).

New Zealand are presently on tour in the western hemisphere as head coach Ricki Herbert prepares the Oceania playoff winners for a yet to be determined Concacaf opponent for a place in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Meanwhile T&T head coach Hart is concentrating on preparations towards the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Left to right - Midfielder Khaleem Hyland, assistant coach Derek King, head coach Stephen Hart and goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams showing off their Support Akeem jerseys“Despite this (New Zealand match) being a friendly, the players realise it’s an important preparation game for us because again, we are building for the 2018 World Cup campaign,” said Hart, who led the “Warriors” to a creditable quarterfinal round run in the 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup, in July, and to a third place finish in the OSN Cup in Saudi Arabia—a four-team invitational tournament in September, which involved runners-up, New Zealand.

“We want to put on a strong performance and demonstrate the progress that has been made in recent months,” said T&T’s Belgium-based defender Bateau.

“I’m very happy to be part of the coach’s plans. He’s been doing a fine job with us and as players, we are really looking forward to doing a job on the field of play against New Zealand on Tuesday,” added the KV Mechelen player.

“I know there is a lot of hype around the game and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Hoyte, looking towards his first international on T&T soil.

The Middlesbrough footballer added, “I haven’t had the chance to play with Akeem Adams but the others guys in the squad have been friends and teammates of his, and I know they’re all touched by what has happened. We’ll do our part to contribute in whatever way we can. I know we’ll be looking to put on a good performance against New
Zealand.”

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association(TTFA) has marketed the friendly international around its “Heart of a Warrior” campaign in support of Adams.

There will be an Akeem Adams Section, where $50 from each ticket sold for that area has been promised to the Adam’s family. The TTFA has also sold “Support Akeem” t-shirts ahead of Tuesday’s friendly, and will be available at the game.

Akeem’s former club W Connection have pledged its 2013 Digicel Charity Shield earnings of $10,000 to the Adams’ family, and in a report by the Trinidad Express, the family has received financial assistance from Akeem’s alma mater, Presentation College (San Fernando), which is also planning a “benefit match” against a school from the footballer’s hometown, Point Fortin.

Akeem’s present medical care is covered by Ferencvarosi’s insurance policy. The club has also fitted the airfare, accommodation and ground travel of Akeem’s mother Ancilla Dick-Adams and older brother, goalkeeper Akini Adams in Hungary.

According to an article by Wired868, friends and well-wishers can now donate directly to the Adams’ family by walking into any RBC branch and depositing money for Ancilla Dick-Adams, at account #100085172658914.