The Beautiful Game Turned Into a Nightmare

By CharlieWhitehurst
Dec. 01, 2016

          Growing up, one of my favorite movies was We Are Marshall, based upon the Marshall football team plane crash in 1970. However, I never thought that it would ever happen again because planes are so much more advanced now. I was wrong, and my worst nightmare as a child became a reality late November 28th when a plane carrying the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense crashed into the hills a mere minutes from the airport in Medillin Columbia. 

          Chapecoense was founded in 1973 in Brazils domestic league. Their primary colors are Forest Green and white and just recently were promoted to Serie A for the first time in the club’s history. On Nov. 28th 2016 they were on their way to play in the first leg of their first ever South American cup final when the plane crashed killing 71 of the 76 people on board.

          According to the BBC and several other sources the Plane ran out of fuel, and is why the Plane crashed. Aviation regulations require an emergency 30 minute fuel tank so that in a situation like this the plane would be able to reach an emergency airport. According to reports, the plane did not have this reserve fuel that could have saved up to 71 lives including 20 journalists and 19 players and the entirety of the coaching and management staff on the plane. Also according to BBC, there are reports that another plane at the airport took precedence in their emergency landing at the Medillin airport and that the plane carrying the team was circling for 13 minutes before it went off the grid and crashed.

          The team was due to play Atletico Nacional based out of Medellin Columbia in the biggest game in the clubs history. Atletico since the crash has been nothing but class, holding a memorial for the team at their own stadium during the time when the game was supposed to be played. In a press release from the team they said “As far as we are concerned, Chapecoense will forever be the champions of the Copa Sudamericana cup 2016.” Winning trophies in soccer is what they all play for, and to give it to Chapecoense so freely and so gracefully is a great act of class from the Columbian side.

A few of the players that did not make the trip sit stunned in the locker room the day after the crash

          The list of players that are surviving carry the heaviest of burdens. Three players are still in the hospital Alan Ruschel is in the best shape, although all at this point are hopeful of surviving. Jakson Follmann was a backup goalie and had his right leg amputated and may need his left foot amputated. Neto is also still in ICU although the extent of his injuries are not as clear. Nine players didn’t travel, and the picture of them siting stunned in their locker room the day after the crash is absolutely heart breaking. Rafael Lima, Nenem, Demerson, Marcelo Boeck, Andrei, Hyoran, Martinuccio, Moises, and Nivaldo all were left off of the team sheet and did not travel with the team. Although third goalie Nivaldo has already announced his retirement, the remaining players will be looked at to be the leaders of this team moving forward.

          It sounds like the team will be offered players free on loan for the next year while they put a team back on the field of their own. It also sounds like the governing body of soccer in Brazil has been petitioned by the other teams in the league to make Chapecoense immune from relegation for the next three seasons while they rebuild.

          From the team “In this complicated moment we are going through, we feel embraced by the amount of support people are offering us. In these hours of commotion, we realize how good people are, willing to help each other get back on top.” (translated from Portuguese). 

          May God watch over the families of the deceased, and may the players of Chapecoense along with all of the deceased rest in peace.

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