Champeconese rises again
As the mythological Phoenix rose from the ashes, so does Team Champecoense. After the horrible tragedy of losing all but three players in the plane crash this past November in Medellin, Colombia, the team is preparing to return to the pitch next season.
The Cinderella story now all seems but a distant memory when the team was heading to compete in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana tournament finals. The teams rise through the ranks in Brazil and South America made many teams take notice. Now the team has to find a way to start over again brick by brick, player by player.
The club is looking to sign 20 new players. Most of the players who will join Champecoense for the 2017 season will be loaned to the club. Teams have promised to loan players for free to help the team rebuild. “ We are resorting to a lot of loans”, said Rui Costa, Champecoense director of futbol, “ That is a tool for bringing together quality, speed, and budget. Many clubs are being partners in this.”
Two of the three players who survived the crash, Alan Rushel, and Neto are expected to come back at some point and wear their numbers. Unfortunately for goalkeeper Jakson Follman, one of his legs was amputated after the crash and will not play soccer again.
Costa said if the injured players would not be able to return, no other player will use their numbers. “We expect Alan and Neto to come back and wear them”, said Costa, “Folman sadly won’t be able to but he will certainly be back here with us in some capacity. The only ones that can wear those jerseys are them.”
The team will begin pre-season training on Friday with some junior players joining the new signings as well as the players who did not get on the doomed flight to Colombia.