Brazilian football club Chapecoense are seeking to sign up to 20 new players in order to rebuild their side following the devastating air crash late last year which killed most of the team.
In total, 19 players and coaching staff were among 71 people to die when their plane ran out of fuel and crashed into a mountain just outside of Colombian city Medellín on November 28.
The team had been en route to the city in order to play Atletico Nacional in the final of the Copa Sudamericana.
“We are resorting to a lot of loans,” said the club’s director of football Rui Costa.
“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.”
Cruzeiro centre-back Douglas Grolli, who was part of the Chapecoense squad between 2008 and 2011, has become the first loan signing to be announced after having spent last season also on loan at Ponte Preta.
He also had another spell on loan with the club in 2014.
Three players – goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, centre-back Neto and full-back Alan Ruschel – all survived the crash
It is hoped that Neto and Ruschel will ultimately return to competition, but Follmann will be unable to after having part of his leg amputated.
“No player this season will use the shirts that were worn by Jackson Follmann, Neto or Alan Ruschel,” Costa added.
“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 domestic season is due to begin on January 26, where Chapecoense are scheduled to face Joinville at home.
Colombia’s Civil Aeronautics agency concluded in its investigation that the plan for the fatal flight did not meet international standards.
They said a series of errors were made including the decision to allow the plane to take off without enough fuel to make the flight safely.
The pilot failed to refuel en-route and did not report engine failures caused by the lack of fuel until it was too late, according to preliminary results of the investigation.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.