A Week After Chapecoense Disaster: 30 heart melting photographs
A Week After Chapecoense Disaster: 30 heart melting photographs
Written by Goalden Times Editorial Team on December 6, 2016
Chapecoense – it was the fairytale that never happened, instead they became the immortals. This is one of the worst humanitarian crisis football world has ever experienced but they stood together to embrace the inevitability. This impeccable collection of visuals are a tribute to the fallen victims and to the fans and families who defined humanity once again through a very tough time.
Caio Junior (ex-manager) after qualifying for the Copa Sudamerica 2016 Final had uttered the following statement, “If I died today, I’d die happy.” This was a proof of the happiness that was among the club members as they were enjoying their best ever run in their history.
Associação Chapecoense de Futebol, also known as Chapecoense, is a Brazilian football club, based in the city of Chapecó in the state of Santa Catarina, founded on 10th May 1973 with the aim of restoring football in the city of Chapeco.
The club has progressed rapidly in recent years. They were in the Serie D, the fourth tier of Brazilian football till 2009 when they finished 3rd and were promoted to Serie C in 2010, the 3rd tier of Brazilian league football. Their run in Serie C continued till 2012 when they finished 3rd and got promoted to the Serie B in 2013. An excellent season in the 2nd division resulted in them finishing second and a promotion to the 1st division in 2014 and have stayed there since.
According to Chapecoense the secret of this good run is excellent management and a good strategic vision where they make sure short-term goals are achieved properly which in turn is helping them plan out and achieve in the long run. They are in a league of their own if finance is to be considered with other Brazilian clubs. The club, since 2010 is debt free and since then has gained marvellous stability at a time other Brazilian clubs are struggling to meet up finances and are begging to the government to pardon their financial errors.
All these preparations went in vain when on November 28, the team boarded a commercial flight from Brazil to Bolivia. From Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, the team had boarded a chartered plane to carry them to Medellin, Colombia, the location for the first-leg of the Copa final. Lamia Airlines flight 2933, a short haul aircraft carrying 77 passengers including 22 players of the team and several staff members crashed into the hills of Colombia leaving 71 people dead. The six survivors include three players Alan Ruschel, Neto and Jakson Follmann. The plane was scheduled to make a fuel stop in Cobija in North Bolivia which was reportedly skipped by the pilot and the plane ran out of fuel minutes before landing in Medellin. The pilot had asked for an emergency landing but another flight VivaColombia flight FC8170 had already requested to land at Jose Maria Cordova International airport due to a fault in the cabin. So his request could not be processed and the unfortunate disaster which has shaken up the football community across the planet occurred.
The pilot of the plane which crashed killing almost every member of Chapecoense, lost his own father in a plane crash when he was still a baby, it emerged on Wednesday. And in a tragic twist of fate, Miguel Quiroga, who was flying the doomed LaMia plane taking Chapecoense players to play in Colombia, himself became a father for the third time just weeks ago.
Distraught residents of this southern Brazilian city of 200,000 people, an agribusiness center near the Argentina border, wandered the streets around the stadium — known as Arena Conda — in stunned silence.
Their good run continued with the club qualifying for the Copa Sudamerica final 2016 for the first time in their history making Chapecoense the first Brazilian club to qualify for any continental cup final in three years. They entered the Copa Sudamerica in the second round where they defeated Brazilian outfit Cuiabá 2-3 on aggregate. They faced Argentinian giants Independiente in the round of 16 whom they defeated 4-6 on penalties to proceed to the quarter-finals of the competition. Colombian side Junior were their opponents in the quarter-finals whom they overcame 1-3 to continue their dream run in the competition and qualified for the semis. In the semis, they faced another Argentine side San Lorenzo whom they defeated on away goals rule after a 1-1 draw in Argentina and 0-0 back home. This score was enough to ensure they qualify for the final and this gave the club and its supporters immense joy and happiness.
The little-known club from Brazil would have faced Colombian side Atlético Nacional in Medellin for the 1st leg of the Copa final on November 30 and the final in Brazil a week later on the 7th of December. The club has been in such good financial status that they arranged for the 2nd leg of the final not in Chapeco, not in the native state of Santa Catarina but in Couto Pereira stadium in Curitiba which could accommodate over 40000 people required by the CONMEBOL.
“The dream is not over. We will fight back when it’s time,” said Chape’s acting club president, Gelson Della Costa. “Now it’s time to take care of the families,” he said.
In the wake of this accident, Atletico Nacional requested the CONMEBOL to hand over the trophy to Chapecoense. The Brazilian FA asked the club to fulfil their next league fixture as a tribute to their players and staff who died in the plane crash. Legends like Ronaldinho and Juan Roman Riquelme have already offered to play for the club for free. Former Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen is the latest player to offer his services to the club as a goodwill measure.
This is not the first flight crash affecting the footballing community with the Superga air disaster in 1949, the Munich air disaster in 1958 and the 1993 Zambia national football team crash having shaken up the community before spreading widespread mourning. The club now needs to keep itself united and tightly knit, pull itself back up again and with the support offered, try and regain stability and make its lost members proud. Tudo de bom, Chapecoense. #ForcaChape.
Words: Suprodip Ghoshal
Photographs: The photographs are not owned by Goalden Times and we do not claim ownership of these images by any means. All the images are sole property of the respective owners.