Birthday boy David prays for friend’s recovery.Soca Warriors defender Aubrey David celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday, but his wishes had nothing to do with him. Instead the former national youth player offered prayers for his longtime teammate Akeem Adams of Hungarian club Ferencvarosi who continues to fight for his life after suffering a massive heart attack two weeks ago.

David of Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA was with the rest of the Soca Warriors at their live-in camp at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel where they are based ahead of Tuesday’s friendly International against New Zealand at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

The match is being fully supported by the Ministry of Sport and the Sportt Company and will also see contributions being made towards the “Heart of a Warrior” fund from the sale of specially priced $125 tickets. Adams suffered a massive heart attack on September 25 and has since been fitted with a mechanical heart and is awaiting a heart transplant.

He is in the ICU of Varosmajori Heart Clinic in Hungary, where he has so far undergone four surgeries, including the amputation of his lower left leg, after he developed necrosis in the limb due to difficulties with blood circulation in his extremities.

Speaking ahead of the team’s second afternoon training session in two days at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar, David, who also represented Guyana in the past, said he was wishing every day that he will be able to see Adams again here in T&T. “Everyday I pray to the Almighty that he can cure Akeem and send him home to us again,” David said.

“My wish today was for him to be healed and that God continues to look over him and his family. My second wish is that the country shows support for the cause and rally behind the team for Tuesday’s match and the other matches to come.”

With regard to the team, David, who was born in Guyana but played at the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups alongside Adams for T&T said: “I think we’ve settled into a nice system under coach Stephen Hart and the players are very eager to play and represent the Red, White and Black.  “This is about us as a country wanting to turn things around.

We are working hard everyday, we are getting support from the Association but this thing needs the entire country behind it. “If you look at the countries who are succeeding on the international stage...it’s taking the efforts of a lot of partners in order for them to reach where they are,” David said.

For yesterday’s session, Hart who led the T&T team to a quarterfinal showing at the Concacaf Gold Cup earlier this year was expected to have his full complement of 22 players after the arrival of San Jose Earthquakes winger Cordell Cato and Vancouver Whitecaps defender Carlyle Mitchell, who joined the camp after taking part in their club’s US Major League Soccer wins on Wednesday night.

On Thursday, during an intense session at the same venue, Belgium-based defender Sheldon Bateau and un-capped Central FC, teenager, Rundell expressed their hope that Adams will overcome his situation and vowed to give their all for a win against the Kiwis in his honour.

The hard tackling Bateau, who played alongside Adams as members of the national Under-17 and Under-20 squads at two FIFA World Cups said he was happy to be wearing the national colours once more, especially in a match that means so much to him personally.

He said, “For me this match against New Zealand is much more than a friendly, and we have to give our all and win for our team-mate Akeem.”

Looking ahead to the match, the 22-year-old Bateau who joined the European club after playing locally for San Juan Jabloteh and then North East Stars and has made three appearances for the senior squad said he hopes that all of T&T comes out and show their support not just for the Soca Warriors, but more importantly for Adams and his family.

The New Zealand squad is expected to arrive in T&T tomorrow night and will train at the match venue on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s encounter which kicks off at 7.15 pm.