Supporters of Chapecoense have attended a vigil at the club’s Arena Conda in memory of those tragically involved in the plane crash over Colombia on Tuesday.
Seventy-six players and staff were travelling to a game against Atletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana on Tuesday when it crashed, killing 71 of those on the flight. The game was to be Chapecoense’s first ever final in the competition.
Fans descended on their stadium as they looked to pay tribute to their fallen heroes, with many lighting candles in memory of those who have sadly passed away. Others prayed for those who are believed to have survived the tragic crash.
Leandro Bastos of Chapecoense’s Under-15 side could be seen sitting in silent contemplation in the home team’s dressing room.
Glum-faced supporters wept, while a younger fan wearing a Native American headdress seemed to try and brighten the mood in the stadium.
Others seemed to decide that a more spiritual location was suitable for their tributes to the club’s players and staff. The Santo Antonio Cathedral in Chapeco was packed with a congregation wearing Chapecoense shirts.
Atletico Nacional, Chapecoense’s scheduled opposition for the final in Medellin, Colombia, have requested that the Brazilian minnows are named the winners of the tournament.
Gilberto Garcia, an Atletico player, led the calls and said: “We want Chapocoense to be champions.”
There are believed to be survivors, including players Alan Ruschel and Jackson Follmann, who were reportedly pulled from the wreckage. Helio Herminto, Zampier Neto and passengers Rafael Correa Gobbato and Ximena Suarez were named by officials as having survived the crash.
The first leg of the final was due to take place on Wednesday (yesterday) before the plane carrying the side crashed in a remote mountain region in Colombia.
A statement from Atletico read: “The National deeply regrets and sympathises with Chapecoense by the accident, and expects information from the authorities.
“After being very worried about the human part we thought about the competitive aspect and we want to publish this statement in which Atletico Nacional ask Conmebol to give the title of Copa Sudamericana to Chapecoense as an honorary award for this great loss, and in posthumous homage to the victims of the fatal accident that impute our sport. From us, and forever, Chapecoense are champions of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana.”