One and a half month after the plane crash that killed 19 players and its entire coaching staff, Chapecoense is set to start its rebuilding process. The club’s football director, Rui Costa, is close to signing up to 20 new players. Costa has also declared that he expects two of the crash survivors to rejoin the squad.
Defenders Neto and Alan Ruschel survived, as did the backup goalkeeper Jackson Follmann. The latter, however, had part of his leg amputated. Nevertheless, all three of them should have a role with the team, even if it is off the field.
On November 28, a plane carrying Chapecoense crashed. The team would play Colombia’s Atletico Nacional, in Medellín, for the final of Copa Sudamericana. At the Colombian team’s request, the South American Football Confederation declared Chapecoense the champions. The title came with a $2 million reward and a spot at Copa Libertadores.
In the aftermath of the crash, Brazilian Serie A clubs promised a full year of free player loans. “That is a tool for bringing together quality, speed and budget. Many clubs are being partners in this,” said Costa.
Back to action
Chapecoense’s first game in the 2017 season will take place on January 26 – a home game against Joinville. On Tuesday, the team’s under-20 team started playing at the São Paulo Youth Cup, Brazil’s most prestigious youth tournament. The game ended in a 2-0 loss to Nova Iguaçu.
Chapecoense will have a chance to rebound and qualify for the Round of 30 stage. The team plays Sampaio Corrêa on Thursday, and Desportivo Brasil on Saturday.