Back in 2013, Tom Saintfiet was already using T&T as a reference to what so called smaller nations can achieve on the world football stage.
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T&T bids farewell to Akeem
Even in death the life of fallen national footballer Akeem Adams continues to inspire, as manager of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) David Muhammad wants to take his life story into the “ghettos” in hope of transforming wayward youths. Hundreds braved the heavy rains under tents at the Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin, yesterday to say farewell to Adams, in a place where he entertained many of them during his teenage years. In a tribute, Mohammed, who was manager of the men’s national team in 2008, when Adams made his debut, said Adams’s story could inspire change among young men in society “who are going to hell.” “I’m going to take the story of Akeem Adams into the ghettos, let the young men know that you don’t have to pick up a gun, you don’t have to take drugs or you don’t have to smoke marijuana. You can dedicate yourself to a cause and you can become one of the greatest in the world,” Muhammad said. “Look at where you live, T&T, a tiny island where youths just like Akeem kill each other every single day because they have no voice, no belief, no faith, no trust, no confidence in themselves nor in God. “Akeem Adams at 16 years old, could show and demonstrate the perfect example of a young man for all of those youths who have lost hope, that they can do something great. If we are disciplined enough in our grief to examine the lesson in this great loss, we could use that inspiration in a story to inspire all of the young men in Morvant, Laventille, Beetham, Sea Lots and east Port-of-Spain who have machine guns, pistols and are trafficking and selling drugs and cocaine on a daily basis.”
Muhammad said within many criminal gangs, there were talented footballers without hope because society had failed them. While cheers rang out for each honour that was bestowed upon Adams, for his mother Ancilla Dick, the grief of burying a son, less than three years after her husband died, could not have been easy. Yet the mother of two stood bravely while delivering the eulogy and told of the last three months her family had shared at the Varosmajori Heart Clinic in Budapest, Hungary, where Akeem was hospitalised after suffering a cardiac arrest. With her elder son Akini embracing her, Dick said, “Akeem was fun and loving to be around. He loved children and they would always surround him. Akeem was always a special and gifted child and he has done so much for this country. I am proud and I thank God for giving me a graceful child. “I have a joy in my heart that I am burying my son today. I know he is in the hands of the Lord, he is on a golden field with a golden ball and a golden goal. “He focused on his goal and he was brought up with good manners and respect, and we as parents ought to instill that in our children.”
For many in the sporting fraternity, Adams’s death was a great loss to national football. He made his senior debut at 16 on March 19, 2008 against El Salvador at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, and played among the likes of Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Carlos Edwards, Kenwyne Jones, Dennis Lawrence and Clayton Ince. Honours were plentiful for Adams. His coffin was draped with the flags of T&T and Ferencvaros TC. His brother Akini spent the earlier part of the service collecting honours such as team jerseys from Adams’s former clubs Central FC and his alma mater Presentation College and a plaque from the T&T Players Association. Tributes also came from national footballer and managing director of Central FC Brent Sancho, operations manager Kevin Harrison, assistant coach at W Connection Earl Jean, La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey and Point Fortin MP Paula Gopee-Scoon. After the service, a procession was led from Mahaica Oval to the Point Fortin Cemetery, where he was laid to rest.
How Adams died
Adams, 22, played at W Connection, T&TEC SC, United Petrotrin and Central FC, before signing with Hungarian club Ferencvaros TC early last year. On September 25, he suffered a heart attack which led to his left leg being amputated on October 8. So severe was the damage to his heart that his doctor deemed that he was not strong enough for the transplant needed to keep him alive.
He died at the Varosmajori Heart Clinic, Budapest, Hungary on December 30, after suffering a stroke and falling into a coma.