The tragedy that happened about a week ago left the world of football in tears when the plane that carried an ambitious team, a team of potential champions, crashed in Colombia. Not many people around the world had heard of the name Chapecoense before. But everyone was united in honoring and remembering the victims that passed away in the crash.
Chape was founded in 1973 in Chapeco, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The team was a merge between Atletico Chapecoense and Independente. They were in Serie D in 2009 and made it in a few years to Brazil’s top flight division.
The team was rising rapidly in a very short time and was labeled the Leicester of Brazil after Leicester City’s surprise triumph in the English Premier League last season. They reached the final of the Copa Sudamericana and were scheduled to play Atletico Nacional. The players were in a celebrating spirit when the worst happened. Atletico Nacional requested that the title be given to Chape who will be rewarded as champions in honor of the victims of the crash.
Road to the Final
Chape played their first match of the Sudamericana 2016 against local rivals Ciuaba. They lost the away leg 1-0 before coming back at home in the second leg to win 3-1, and qualify 3-2 on aggregate score.
In the Round of 16, they played the Argentinian Independiente and drew both legs with no goals to go on and win on penalties and reach the quarter finals.
The quarter finals placed Chape against Colombian side Junior. Junior won at home 1-0 before Chape beat the in the return leg in Brazil 3-0 and moved on to the semis.
Argentinian side San Lorenzo was waiting in the semifinal. Both matches ended with draws. However, Chape was victorious on away goals after drawing 1-1 in Argentina and with no goals in Brazil. They moved to the final they never played after they were celebrating and the tragedy happened.
The request from rivals Atletico Nacional to give the title to Chapecoense after the incident was found admirable by CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez who stated that they will evaluate the offer and come up with a decision soon.
In Brazil, Chape President was asked to play the final fixture of the season in order to make it a celebration honoring the victims of the crash. However, the team does not have 11 players to field and will try to gather players from youth teams and injured players just to be in the game and make it a big celebration that truly honors the players who passed away tragically.
Future of the Club
What happens to such a club in the future? Well, it has happened before with Torino and Manchester United among others. For now, many teams are willing to help Chape in loaning the players to let the club survive. This is an amazing gesture that shows what football is all about. The world of football is united. The game is all about respect. And the amount support Chape is receiving shows an amazing spirit between football clubs and federations. We hope this is the last crash we hear about and not just in football, and also hope that the values of football will forever remain in the hearts of all who are involved in the game.