Sunday 4 December 2016

Nine Chapecoense players gather to mourn the tragic death of their teammates in Colombia plane crash

Jack de Menezes

Published 29/11/2016 | 14:00

Members of Chapecoense Atletico de Brazil have gathered at the club’s training base to pay their respects after they discovered that the majority of their teammates had been killed in the tragic Colombian plane crash on Monday night.

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76 people have been killed after a plane carrying the Chapecoense squad to Medellin came down in a mountainous range near the Colombian city. The Brazilian side were due to play Atletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final first leg on Wednesday, but the match has been postponed and the South American Football Confederation [Conmebol] has announced that all activities across the continent have been suspended until further notice.

The crash is the worst tragedy to involve a football team since the 1958 Munich Air Disaster, in which 23 people died including Manchester United players, staff and journalists.

The Chapecoense vice-president, Ivan Tozzo, issued a statement to confirm that six people, three of whom were players, were found alive after the crash, although Colombian Police have confirmed that one of the six has succumbed to their injuries.

At least nine squad players were not included in the side for the final and remained in Chapeco, and they were pictured arriving at the club’s Arena Conda on Tuesday morning after Tozzo invited anyone affected by the accident to attend.

Lima, Neném, Demerson, Boeck, Andrei, Hyoran, Martinuccio, Moisés and Nivaldo all attended the club on Tuesday, where a memorial shrine was put up in the changing room and candles lit in memory of the deceased.

“[It’s] Very sad to receive the news that came through this morning. It was completely unexpected,” Tozzo told SporTV in Brazil.

“We’re gathered at the stadium, welcoming people who are affected, people who love Chapecoense. It’s an unbelievable situation. The penny has yet to drop.

“We’re just waiting, everyone putting our faith in God that things will go our way. The pain is hard to take.

“I’ve been at Chapecoense a long time and I know what we’ve gone through to get here. Now we’ve arrived here, I won’t say at our peak but known around the country, a tragedy like this happens.

“It’s really tough, a great tragedy.”

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