Tuesday, November 29, 2016 2:12 pm
Condolences and tributes have continued to pour in respect of the plane clash that killed over 76 people including some members of Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense.
Reports say a full complement of the team, heading for the biggest game in their history, were on board the chartered plane that crashed into Colombian jungle.
Chapecoense, from Brazil’s top league, had been flying to face Atletico Nacional of Medellin on Wednesday in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final, South America’s equivalent of the Europa League.
It was the first time the small club from Chapecoense had reached the final of a major South American club competition.
The club said in a statement it would not be making any official comments until it had more information from Colombian authorities.
The crash evoked memories of Munich air disaster in 1958, which killed 23 people, including eight Manchester United players, newsmen and travelling officials.
World governing body FIFA said its “thoughts were with the victims, their families, fans of Chapecoense and media organisations in Brazil on this tragic day”.
Brazilian President Michel Temer expressed his grief.
“I express my solidarity in this sad hour during which tragedy has beset dozens of Brazilian families.
“The government will do all it can to alleviate the pain of the friends and family of sport and national journalism,’’ Temer said.
Soccer world sent condolences to Brazil’s Chapecoense after air crash
Chapeco qualified for the biggest game in their history after overcoming Argentine club San Lorenzo in the semi-final on away goals following a 1-1 draw in Buenos Aires and a 0-0 draw at home.
They were very much the underdogs for the match against a club going for a rare double after winning the Copa Libertadores in July.
Chapeco were the 21st biggest club in Brazil in terms of revenue, bringing in 46 million reais ($13.5 million) in 2015, according to an annual rich list compiled by Brazilian bank Itau BBA.
The club has built its success on a frugal spending policy that eschewed big money signings and instead concentrated on blending young talent and experienced journeymen.
Their best-known player was Cleber Santana, a midfielder whose best years were spent in Spain with Atletico Madrid and Mallorca.
Coach Caio Junior was also experienced, having managed at some of Brazil’s biggest clubs, Botafogo, Flamengo and Palmeiras among them
The crash prompted an outpouring of solidarity and grief on social media from the footballing community, with Brazilian top flight teams Flamengo and Santos tweeting messages of support.
Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas sent his condolences for the plane accident that carried Chapecoense Real, adding that it is a tough moment for football.
The South American football federation suspended all games and other activities.
Brazilian news organisations said 21 journalists had been on board to cover the match.
Meanwhile Brazil has declared three day of national mourning in honour of the dead. (Reuters/NAN)