The Tragic Fate of Associação Chapecoense de Futebol

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3 years ago
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After the match between San Lorenzo de Almagro and Chapecoense, the Chapecos booked their ticket and they'll face Atletico National for the finals of the Copa Sudamericana 2016. For this Brazilian football team, they made it through to make it at the top, until tragedy strikes to the whole squadron, including journalists and the flight crew that shook the whole world by storm. On this day (November 28), we commemorate the people aboard LaMia Flight 2933 en route to Medellin, Colombia.

Let's take a look first at the club's origins. Chapecoense is based in Chapeco, State of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Founded on May 10, 1973, and their objective is to restore football to their community. In 1977, they won the Campeonato Catarinese and 6 state titles. They entered Serie A in 1978, Brazil's top tier division. For the fans and the Torcida Orgazinada of Chape, Green represents their blood, while white represents hope.

November 24, 2016, 4 days before the incident. It was the Semi-Finals 2nd Leg between Chapecoense Vs. San Lorenzo. Tensions were high on both teams, card after card as they manage to get the ball at the back of the net. And after the final whistle, Chape advances to the Finals as they square off against Atletico National of Colombia. It was a great victory for the Chapecos, the whole stadium celebrated on and off the pitch, including at the locker room.

November 28, 2016. LaMia Flight 2933 carried the football squad, journalists, flight crew and attendants, and entourage which they'll be picked up from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a stopover to Santa Cruz de la Siera, Bolivia, then to Medellin, Colombia for their 1st leg of the Copa Sudamericana 2016. The aircraft is about to land at Jose Maria Cordova International Airport, but the pilot reported an electrical failure and fuel exhaustion. They were given priority to land but they need to wait for the other planes to land, making the craft go round in a few laps. Until the first 2 engines flamed out. A few minutes later, the 2 other engines burst out of flames and crash-landed to the crest of Mt. Cerro Gordo at 21:59 (9:59 pm) at an altitude of 2,600 meters.

71 of the 77 people lost their lives in the process. 3 of the flight crew, 22 players, 23 were staff members, 21 journalists and 2 others died in the plane crash. Alan Ruschel, Neto, Jakson Follman, and 3 others survived the plane crash. The football universe was in shock, and people all around the world unite as one to send their tributes. Matches all over the world begin a minute of silence. Torcida groups from Brazil set aside their rivalry to offer their tributes to Chapecoense. European Clubs and Ultras groups send their tributes stating "Força Chape". Arena Conda turned to a monument as families, fans and supporters honor their fallen heroes. Atletico National pleaded to CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation) to hand over the trophy to Chapecoense and as champions of the tournament.

Follman, Neto, and Ruschel. The 3 Chapecos who survived the plane crash. Neto went emotional after returning to the pitch during their friendly match with the Catalans.

It will be a tough road for the club to recover. After the incident, the confederation declared Chape as champions of the Copa Sudamericana 2016, hence, giving them the nickname Eternos Campeões (Eternal Champions). Atletico National, on the other hand, gave them the Fair Play Award, as a gesture and respect to their fellow players. In 2017, FC Barcelona organized a fundraiser friendly match to help the team on rebuilding their roster. Now the team is currently playing in Serie A and Campeonato Catarinense.

This is the one thing that I love in Football, through the good or bad, through hardships, win or lose, we always got your back. This is my only stress reliever just to escape the real world, for once. Then, you would feel at the top of the world in unity with your comrades singing in unison at the terraces.

Sources:

Lead Image from https://www.espn.in/football/copa-sudamericana/0/blog/post/3003331/brazils-chapecoense-oust-san-lorenzo-to-make-copa-sudamericana-final

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-latin-america-38155840

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2678766-plane-carrying-brazilian-soccer-club-crashes-in-colombia

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