Embattled Chapecoense steps up recruitment drive

AFP

Chapecoense's Danilo named best player in Brazil

A plane carrying the Brazilian squad, technical commission and a number of journalists for the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional crashed en route to Medellin two days before the match was due to take place, killing 71 people on board in November.

Centre-back Neto, full-back Alan Ruschel and reserve goalkeeper Jackson Follmann survived the crash.

Chapecoense - which was named winner of the Copa Sudamericana after the disaster and added to this year's Copa Libertadores competition - is now trying to put a team together, with some help from teams around the world, ahead of their season-opening clash against Joinville in the Primeira Liga on 27 January.

Director of football Rui Costa told reporters: "We are resorting to a lot of loans. That is a tool for bringing together quality, speed and budget. Many clubs are being partners in this.

"We looked at 90 players, we whittled that down to 50 and finally had a list of 38 players that got down to the number of players we have today.

"We have a group ready to start pre-season training. We'll probably have between 25 and 27 players."

Costa said: "No player this season will use the shirts that were worn by Jackson Follmann, Neto or Alan Ruschel.

"More than a tribute, we expect Alan and Neto to come back and wear them. Follmann 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."

Chapecoense will face Internacional in the Campeonato Catarinense on 30 January (AEDT).

That match is scheduled four days after a friendly between Brazil and Colombia to raise money for Chapecoense, which will also take on Spanish champion Barcelona in the 2017 Joan Gamper Trophy.