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Brazil air crash team signs new players

Sao Paulo (AFP) – Brazilian football club Chapecoense on Wednesday presented the first three of 20 new players it plans to sign after its squad was wiped out in a deadly plane crash.

The new hires smiled for the cameras wearing the team’s green shirt after agreeing to move to the club.

One of them, 27-year-old defender Douglas Grolli, started out at Chapecoense and is now on loan back to them from his current club Cruzeiro. 

He is hoping to help his former club bounce back after he joined in mourning its dead members.

The other two new players presented Wednesday were midfielder Nadson da Silva, 27, from club Parana and striker Rossi, 23, from Goias.

“We are working with about 18 to 20 new players” overall, the club’s director, Rui Costa, told a news conference on Tuesday.

“But with so many hirings, which is quite rare in world football, we have to be very careful because there are lots of contracts and legal considerations.”

Chapecoense rose from obscurity to make it to the final of the Copa Sudamericana regional tournament.

But the plane disaster on November 28 cut short their dream as they flew to Colombia to play.

The crash in the Colombian mountains killed 71 people, including 19 of the team’s players and numerous staff.

Three players survived: winger Alan Ruschel, defender Helio Neto and goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, who had his leg amputated.

Their shirt numbers will be reserved and not allocated to any of the new players.

Nine of the club’s first-team players were not on the flight.

The club has hired a new manager, Vagner Mancini, to rebuild the team in its hometown of Chapeco, in Brazil’s southern Santa Catarina state.

The side plays at home against Joinville on January 26 in its first match since the disaster.

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