Published: Saturday 03 December, 2016

Bodies of Chapecoense Soccer Players Killed in Plane Crash Go Home

Dozens of coffins are headed for Brazilian city, Chapeco. The coffins contain the bodies of Chapecoense soccer players killed in a plane crash in Colombia – almost the entire football team which was headed to Medellin for a regional cup final.

Chapecoense soccer players killed

Coffins containing the remains of Chapeceonse players. (PHOTO: Twitter/Aeronáutica Civil da Colômbia)

The bodies of all 71 victims of the plane crash left Colombia Friday. These include 64 Brazilians, five Bolivians, and one each from Paraguay and Venezuela. All were flown on separate flights in their last journey home. Three plane from the Brazilian Air Force were sent to Colombia to collect the bodies of its citizens.

The biggest group was flown to Chapeco where fans of the Chapecoense soccer players have been grieving their painful loss since Monday.

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“What we want now more than anything else is to go home, to take our friends and brothers home. The wait is the worst,” said Roberto Di Marche, a cousin of the football team Chapecoense Real’s late director Nilson Folle Junior.

More than 120,000 Chapecoense fans are expected to attend the funeral services for the victims. These include celebrities, politicians, athletes and journalists from all over the world. FIFA chief Gianni Infantino canceled a trip to Australia to attend the funeral, according to AFP.

Brazilian President Michel Temer is also expected to arrive in Chapeco.

“It is one of the largest operations ever seen in the city. (Some) 20,000 people will be inside the stadium and 100,000 will follow the ceremony on screens outside it. This is all very painful but Chapeco will overcome (this),” said the deputy mayor, Elio Francisco Cella, in a press conference.

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The bodies will go on a funeral procession through the city, ending at the Arena Conda, Chapecoense’s home stadium. Access to stadium has been limited to family and friends of the Chapecoense soccer players, and VIPS. But the general public is expected to still troop to the area and watch the funeral services from outside via giant TV screens.

In light of the tragic end of Chapecoense Real’s fairy tale season, some football  clubs from Brazil’s first division, and even around the world, have offered to loan players to Chapecoense for free. The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) also announced that the team will not face relegation from the top division for the next three seasons.