28/11 will remain an unforgettable day for the Chapecoense football team — the little-known team from Brazil, who were out to make history. Destiny had something else written for them. Shortly after the Colombia plane crash, the club officials posted on the Chapecoense Twitter profile pictures of the players and coaches celebrating the team's entry into the Copa Sudamericana finals — the CONMEBOL equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.
Chapecoense were scheduled to take on Atletico Nacional of Medellin over two legs in the final. In a gesture that is bound to bring tears to any football fan, Atletico Nacional has asked the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) to declare Chapecoense as the champions of the Copa Sudamericana 2016.
The Colombian football club issued the following statement:
"Pain overwhelms our hearts and invades our thinking in mourning. It has been unfortunate hours in which we have been dismayed by news that we never wanted to hear.
"The accident of our football brothers, Chapecoense, will mark us for life and will leave an indelible mark on Latin-American and world football. All this has been completely unexpected, that's why the pain. They were all footballers, technical staff, journalists and crew, people with many dreams, that's why the tears.
"After being very worried about the human part we thought about the competitive aspect and we want to publish this statement in which Atletico Nacional ask Conmebol to give the title of Copa Sudamericana be given to the Chapecoense as an honorary award for this great loss, and in posthumous homage to the victims of the fatal accident that impute our sport. For our part, and forever, Chapecoense are champions of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana."
The last 24 hours or so have been nothing but a trance for the members of Chapecoense. Condolences and tributes have been pouring in from all the major football clubs and even iconic players of the present generation, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr.
From the 4th division of Brazilian football to the 1st division in 2014, Chapecoense have slowly but steadily been making their mark among the Brazil football circuit and were starting out to be a force to reckon with.
This graphic shared by the club is bound to leave everyone speechless:
Three players from the team survived the crash, as per reports so far. Call it irony, in the team, the trio is entrusted with the duty of not conceding goals. Little did they may even have to defend themselves from a tragic fate. Of course, the loss of their teammates is something that no power can undo.
Alan Ruschel (defender, Chapecoense) survived the crash, but received spinal injuries.
Zampier Neto (defender, Chapecoense) survived the crash, but received injuries to his chest and skull.
Jakson Follman (reserve goalkeeper, Chapecoense) survived the crash, but received injuries on his entire body.
His efficient goalkeeping during the semifinals of the Copa Sudamerica semi finals against Argentina's San Lorenzo, however, could not save Danilo. The first-team goalkeeper — whose last minute save for Chapecoense in the match, ensured the Brazilian side schedule a showdown with the Atletico Nacional in the tournament finals — was recovered alive from the debris. Danilo succumbed to injuries after being taken to a local hospital.
Thiaguinho, another team member who succumbed to injuries following the Colombia plane crash, had found out only a week back that he was about to be a father, reported Globo Esporte.
Notable Brazilian football clubs like Flamengo, Palmeiras and Sao Paulo have reportedly offered loaning their players to Chapecoense as they look forward to rebuild the club from scratch.
Sao Paulo have also suggested that Chapecoense be immune from relegation to the second tier of Brazilian football for the next three seasons.
Saved from the fateful night
Argentine forward Alejandro Martinuccio, 28, was one of those players who didn't fly with the other members of the Chapecoense football team, as he was was nursing an injury.
I was saved because I got injured. I feel profound sadness. The only thing I can ask is prayers for the companions who were on the flight.
- Martinuccio told Argentina's La Red radio.
The other eight players who did not travel:
Here's something we, from International Business Times, India, would like to share to pay our tribute to the football club...