Chapecoense and Atlético Nacional: bonded by a crash

The Brazilian and the Colombian team share a connection of brotherhood and sportsmanship after the first squad faced a terrible accident 

 Chapecoense and Atlético Nacional

The terrible accident happened on November 28th of last year. The flight 933 of Lamia going to Rionegro crashed into the ground at 9:55 pm; four hours and 50 minutes after the plane with 77 people had left Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. That night, 71 lives were lost. Among these were the coach, four assistant coaches, one physician, and 19 players of the Chapecoense club.The Brazilian team was traveling to Colombia to face the Atletico Nacional at the first game of the Copa Sudamericana. Due to the tragic accident, the game, which was scheduled for November 30th, became a tribute to the victims. On that Wednesday, at 6:45pm, when the match was supposed to start, Nacional’s fans went to the Atanasio Girardot Stadium and showed their empathy and solidarity towards the families of the players.

The memorial started with the release of 71 white doves in memory of the victims. The stadium held thousands of people wearing white shirts, holding candles, and flowers. The Brazilian Minister of Exterior Relations, Jose Serra, and Minister of Culture, Roberto Freire, attended the act, as well as the Mayor of Medellin, Federico Gutierrez. Serra stated in his emotional speech that, in this time of sorrow, all the expressions of solidarity that were  comforting like light in darkness and added, “[…] we, Brazilians, will not forget this”.  

As if the tribute in Medellin had not been enough, Nacional decided to yield the title of the Copa Sudamericana to Chapecoense. As a true act of goodwill and sympathy, the Colombian team was willing to give the championship to the wounded squad that had lost so much. This gesture reached every corner of the football world.

Nearly five months after the deadly accident, Nacional and Chapecoense faced each other at the final of the Recopa on May 10th, 2017. The game ended 4 -1 giving the Colombians its 27th title but the feeling was of brotherhood. All five goals were applauded and celebrated in sportsmanship. When Chapecoense received the medal for second place, all fans at the stadium shouted with joy.  

One of the reasons that lead to the accident, according to The Civil Aviation Authority of Colombia, was the lack of enough fuel to reach Rionegro on captain Miguel Alejandro Quiroga Murakami´s aircraft. It raised questions about the flight plan that was approved departure in Bolivia. In response, the Bolivian government removed the directors of the General Direction of Civil Aviation (or DGAC in Spanish) and the Airport and Auxiliary Air Services Administration (or AASANA for its name in Spanish).


Latin American Post | Mariana Sandoval

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto 

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