Time for the phoenix to rise from the ashes once again! Chapecoense, the little-known Brazilian football team, who faced one of the biggest tragedies in the Columbia Plane Crash 2016 one could ever imagine, play an official friendly match against Brazilian league champions Palmeiras on Saturday.
This is the newly-built team's first ever football match since that fateful night of November 29. The match takes place at Arena Conda, Chapecoense's home ground, having a capacity of 20,000.
Let past incidents and accidents move aside for now, it's time to start fresh, with a new lease of life, with a new hope, with an eye towards a new horizon.
Chapecoense are the Copa Sudamericana 2016 champions. They were handed the trophy by their opponents in the final, Atletico Nacional, as an emotional gesture. The Brazilian side were off to play their biggest ever game in 43 years at Medellin...but moments back, the tragedy struck.
This is a fresh start for the Brazilian team now, under the guidance of newly-appointed coach Vagner Mancini. "We have to build a team, a coaching staff and a club infrastructure in a season in which Chape will be in demand," Mancini told The Associated Press.
"I understand now that the city was so affected because the club and the city are run like a family," he added. "The players we brought are cut from that cloth, but we have to reach a higher level now."
What's next for Chapecoense
- The Copa Sudamericana win gives Chapecoense a direct qualification for the Copa Libertadoes, the premier South American football competition. This happens for the first time in their history!
- Chapecoense also have to defend their title in the Santa Catarina state championship.
- Chapecoense also have take on European heavyweights Barcelona in a charity match.
- Chapecoense also need to put the best of their efforts to continue making a mark in the Brazilian Serie A, the top flight football competition in Brazil.
The new team
Schedule of match
Date: January 21
Time: 4:30 pm local time (6:30 pm GMT, 12 am IST [Sunday])
Venue: Arena Conda