Chapecoense signs 20 new players for next season after tragic plane crash

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Football Soccer - Red Stars x White Stars - End of year charity soccer match - Maracana stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 28/12/16. Players pay tribute to the Chapecoense players and the victims of the Colombia plane crash. Reuters/Ricardo Moraes

After losing most of the players in an airplane crash, the Brazilian football club Chapecoense will sign 20 new players for next season.  The accident happened in November in Colombia.

Rui Costa, director of the football club, said that as of now, they are resorting to a lot of loans to add more players. "That is a tool for bringing together quality, speed and budget. Many clubs are being partners in this,” Costa said. He added that the three players who survived the accident might come back to train and play together with the new players. "No player this season will use the shirts that were worn by Jackson Follmann, Neto or Alan Ruschel," Costa said.

The club confirmed that it will be signing about 20 players. It wishes to finalise the lineup before the start of the season on Jan. 26 with a home game against Joinville. The pre-season training will start on Friday. Costa said that some of the junior players will be part of the new signings as well as the players who did not travel on the fateful flight to Colombia.

"We looked at 90 players, we whittled that down to 50 and finally had a list of 38 players that got down to the number of players we have today. We have a group ready to start pre-season training. We'll probably have between 25 and 27 players,” Costa revealed.

Chapecoense was awarded the Copa Sudamericana by Atlético Nacional in the city of Medellín. Conmebol said it awarded the title as a posthumous homage to the victims of the fatal crash that leaves the sport in mourning. It is also a title that recognised the team as the second highest continental club football title in South America. 

Last November, the football team was heading to Medellin to play Atletico Nacional during the final of the Copa Sudamericana. However, while on the way there, the plane that the team was on crashed into a mountain. Seventy-one people were killed. Survivors were centre back Neto and fullback Alan Ruschel. Reserve goalkeeper Jackson Follmann also survived such misfortune but his leg was amputated.

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