Tuesday 12 December 2017

Who are Chapecoense? A profile of the Brazilian football team involved in Colombia plane crash and reaction from the world of football

Brazilian side Chapecoense were travelling to a cup final when their plane crashed in Colombia CREDIT: NELSON ALMEIDA/ AFP
Brazilian side Chapecoense were travelling to a cup final when their plane crashed in Colombia CREDIT: NELSON ALMEIDA/ AFP

Brazil top division side Chapecoense were aboard the aircraft that crashed in Medellin, Colombia with 81 people on board.

A little-known team outside their own country, Chapecoense made headlines in tragic circumstances but what else do we know about the Serie A outfit?

Who are they?

The club's full name is Associação Chapecoense de Futebol, and they were founded in 1973. Chapecoense are based in the town of Chapeco in the State of Santa Catarina in the south of Brazil, approximately 450 km from Porte Alegre.

Having toiled in Brazil's lower divisions since 1979, Chapecoense made a return to Serie A in 2014 and have stayed in the league since then.

This is no small achievement for a club of their lowly stature, in a league populated by more illustrious teams such as Corinthians and Santos.

Who has was involved in the crash?

Reports suggest at least five of the 81 people on board have survived the crash.

Though it is not known how many and which footballers were on the flight, local media reports say Marcos Danilo, Alan Ruschel and Jackson Follmann are still alive.

Social media images show Danilo and Ruschel were sat next to each other on the flight.

Who are the club's notable players?

Cleber Santana, 35, is the club's captain and central midfielder.

He moved to La Liga side Atletico Madrid in 2007, spending three years at the club before returning to Sao Paulo in 2010.

Matheus Biteco is also on loan from Hoffenheim having joined the German side from Gremio in 2015.

The defensive midfielder is a Brazil U20 international.

Where were they heading?

Chapecoense were travelling to play the biggest game in the club's history; the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana against Colombian side Atletico Nacional.

The Sudamericana is a continental cup competition and is South America's answer to the Europa League, with the Copa Libertadores the equivalent of the Champions League.

Chapecoense had reached the final for the first time in their history.

How football has reacted:

Chapecoense statement:

"Chapecoense Football Club, through its vice-president Ivan Tozzo, reserves the right to wait for the official announcement from the Colombian air authority, in order to issue any official note about the accident.

"God be with our athletes, management, journalists and other guests who are with the delegation."

Brazil Football Federation statement:

"CBF expresses its dismay at the news coming from Colombia - a plane crash carrying the Chapecoense delegation, journalists and guests, on their way to the first game of the South American Cup final.

"We are in contact with Conmebol, local authorities and representatives of the club for more information, before we announce possible measures regarding the progress of Brazilian football.

"From now on, we express our solidarity and we direct our prayers to the passengers and crew of the flight."

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