A Tribute to Chapecoense

We like to have a laugh on The Football Round Up, but sadly that is not always possible.

Taken from last week’s show, this was our tribute to Chapecoense.

#ForçaChape

“Last night should have been the biggest game in the history of Chapecoense de Futebol.

They were due to face Colombian side Atletico Nacional in the final of the Copa Sudemericana, the South American equivalent of the Europe League, but the game was never played.

Chapecoense’s journey to the final of South America’s 2nd biggest competition was extraordinary. 10 years ago, Chapecoense played outside of Brazil’s top four professional divisions. They were minnows, without any history of success in Brazilian football.

But from 2009, Chapecoense achieved four promotions in five seasons to reach Serie A, Brazil’s top division. There, they stood side by side with some of the great Brazilian clubs, despite coming from a city whose population is 30 times smaller than Rio de Janeiro.

Chapecoense held their own in Serie A and three years later, they remain in the division. This season, Chapecoense finished a respectable 9th but their exploits in the Sudemericana stole the show. Indeed, Chapecoense were the talk of Brazil. They were the first Brazilian team in 3 years to reach a continental final.

But the game was never played.

It was never played because on Tuesday morning we woke to the devastating news that the plane carrying the Chapecoense team had crashed on its descent into the Colombian city of Medellin, killing 71 of the 77 people on board. Among the passengers included the Chapecoense players, coaches and club staff as well as 21 journalists. Only six people survived; three players, one journalist and two crew.

Last night could have been an incredible conclusion to the Chapecoense fairy-tale, but thanks to a cruel twist of fate, the story has come to a sudden and tragic end.

Now the world is left to mourn the loss of the Chapecoense team. Last night, at the time of when the final should have been taking place, 45,000 Atletico Nacional fans filled their stadium in Medellin to remember those who died. They were not alone. On the streets around the stadium thousands more turned out to pay tribute while across the world the story of Chapecoense has touched us all.

To understand what we have lost is to watch the video of the Chapecoense players celebrating in the dressing room after winning their Sudemericana semi-final. To see the joy on their faces and to know that we will never see them again is heart-breaking.

To the Chapecoense players, and to everyone affected by the crash of LaMia Airlines Flight 2933, we now pause to remember them.”

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