Chapecoense are returning to league action in Brazil’s Serie A as the club continues its recovery from the devastating plane crash
It has been nearly six months since the Chapecoense airplane tragedy took place in Colombia, as the Brazilian team was preparing for the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional. Since then, a new project to rebuild the shape of the team has been in the process. What can we expect from Chape in 2017?
The plane crash in Colombian capital Medellin led to the death of 71 passengers in November, but Chapecoense have shown enough resilience to bounce back from the catastrophe and start rebuilding the team from scratch. Manager Vagner Mancini has always been known for his ability and willingness to construct squads, as most of Chape’s players at the moment are either on loan, academy players, signed on free contracts or on short spells.
The team cannot depend on them for long term, unless the youth players potentially turn-out to be future stars. The Brazilian league 2017 is set to begin, but like every year in Brazil, the regional state championships take place first. As a matter of fact, Chapecoense participated in the Campeonato Catarinense and were able to clinch the championship after overcoming their last challenge against Avai in the final phase.
Despite already conquering their first title in 2017, which by itself is an achievement considering the circumstances, we should not expect too much from the fairytale team. The Catarinense is considered one of the weakest leagues in the country, mostly composed of Serie B or even Serie C teams. Chapecoense qualified for the prestigious Copa Libertadores as the reigning champions of the Sudamericana – after Nacional had asked the South American governing body, CONMEBOL, to award them the trophy.
In the continent’s elite competition, the Brazilians have found life to be difficult so far, managing just four points from four games. Despite that, with two remaining matches, it is mathematically still possible to qualify to the knockout phase, but this would require two straight wins in very tough ties. However, this team has always taught us to believe.
Meanwhile, Chapecoense are set to be in league action for the first time since the tragedy, as they travel away to the Paulista champions Corinthians, at the Arena Corinthians which is one of the hardest and most electrifying stadiums in Brazil. With a team that relies more on passion, determination and hunger rather than outstanding footballing skills, the main expectations will be to avoid relegation as the primary target. If it is possible to finish in the top half, then they would have exceeded all expectations.
One thing is sure, Chapecoense remains almost everyone’s second favorite team in Brazil. The whole country wants to see them overcome the tough times and put the smiles back on the faces of their supporters. A new season is about to kickoff, and Brazilian football fanatics will certainly make sure to tune in.