Brazil, Colombia play match for Chapecoense


Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Brazil and Colombia play a benefit match on Wednesday for the families of members of Brazilian team Chapecoense who were killed in a plane crash in November.

The team’s plane went down on November 28 in mountains in Colombia as they flew to play Atletico Nacional of Medellin in the final of the Copa Sudamericana tournament.

Of the 77 people on board, 71 were killed, including 19 players and 24 other members of the club from Chapeco in southern Brazil.

Wednesday’s friendly international in their honor kicks off at 2345 GMT in the Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

The two countries have not been authorized by FIFA to call up major players with club commitments in Europe, such as Barcelona’s Brazilian star Neymar.

Their coaches were therefore expected to give some lesser-known players their international debuts.

Brazilian coach Tite’s squad for the match includes just eight who have already played for Brazil, including veteran midfielder Diego, 31, and striker Robinho, 32.

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman has seven players from Atletico Nacional in his squad, including striker Miguel Borja.

“We have come with the main intention of doing something very beautiful and taking part in a show of solidarity,” said Colombian goalkeeper Camilo Vargas.

The plane accident cut short the fairytale run of the unheralded Chapecoense, who had risen in five years from the fourth division to the top and were playing in their first major final.

To rebuild the side, sporting director Rui Costa has recruited 22 players, most of them on loan.

Chapecoense on Saturday played their own first match since the tragedy.

They drew 2-2 against Brazilian champions Palmeiras in an emotional fixture attended by survivors of the crash and relatives of those killed.

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