A very sad thing happened on Monday night. A plane carrying the Brazilian Copa Sudamericana finalists Chapecoense crashed on its way to the venue of the final. Of the 81 passengers on board, only five people survived. The plane had almost made it to their destination; it fell just short of Medellin, Colombia.
This is the saddest news I have heard in the world of football this year. Chapecoense were a club that had experienced the wildest of rides to the pinnacle of South American football. The club was established in 1973. For many years, they played in the lower levels of the Brazilian League. In 2007 they gained promotion from the lowest level, Serie D, and seven years later, they won promotion to Serie A, the top level Brazilian League. This year, they qualified for the continental competition, the Copa Sudamericana, for the first time in their history. This is an even better story than that of Leicester City.
Or it would have been, but for the tragedy that cut it short. Chapecoense struggled against Argentine heavyweights Indepediente, but they managed to prevail. Eventually they made it to the finals of the Copa Sudamericana. They were going to play the first leg of the final at home, but their stadium was deemed unsuitable for the kind of crowds expected for the final. So, they moved the event to the home of Atletico National, their opponents.
Then tragedy reared its ugly head. The plane was just minutes away from its destination when it experienced an electrical fault. Just like that, the lives of 76 people, including the entire Chapecoense squad, technical staff, and a few other passengers, got cut short. This is truly unbelievable; the Brazilian club has suffered the worst possible kind of misfortune, just when they were at the finish line of an unbelievable race to the top. Fate has been cruel to them, I must say. However, like Brazilian player Neymar said, Heaven rejoices in receiving champions.
The Chapecoense squad has suffered a horrible fate. However, we will never forget them. Already, they are getting support from paople all over the world. Teams from all over Brazil are sending them players on loan, so they can rebuild from scratch. I hope that they can find it in them to rebuild, and bounce back from this tragedy. To the dearly departed, I say Rest in peace.