Before yesterday morning, if you had asked members of the local general public who Chapecoense were, only a handful would have been able to tell you. However due to the worst news possible, the Brazilian football team are fresh in everybody’s mind. Unfortunately, the plane carrying them to Colombia had power failures and subsequently crashed to the ground. The crash sadly killed 71 out of the 77 passengers onboard. They were due to play Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final, which is the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament. The final would have capped off a remarkable few years, as the team from Chapeco only joined the top flight division in Brazil in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s. It was only six days ago that the Chapecoense players can be seen on video celebrating their semi-final victory in the dressing room.
Their Colombian counterparts, Atletico, have since asked that the trophy be given to Chapecoense as an “honorary award for this great loss”. With the majority of the playing squad killed in the disaster, three of Brazil’s biggest clubs (Flamengo, Palmeiras and Sao Paulo) have offered some of their players on loan to Chapecoense with Sao Paulo also suggesting that they should be exempt from relegation for the next few seasons in order for them to rebuild the club.
My thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy in Colombia. #ForçaChapecoense