Chapecoense air crash survivor eyes return to football pitch

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Rio de Janeiro, Dec 24 (IANS) Chapecoense air disaster survivor Alan Ruschel has said that he hopes to return to the football pitch in time for next year’s Copa Libertadores.

Ruschel was one of only six survivors of the November 28 crash near the Colombian city of Medellín, which claimed the lives of 71 people, including most of Chapecoense’s footballers and staff, reports Xinhua.

“I want to play again in six months,” the 27-year-old told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper on Friday. “I am taking things a day at a time. I want to come back in time to play in the Copa Libertadores.”

The tragedy occurred less than two days before the small Brazilian club were due to play Colombia’s Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the two-match Copa Sudamericana final.

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Chapecoense were subsequently named winners of the tournament at the request of Atletico Nacional, giving them automatic qualification for the Copa Libertadores.

The group stage of South America’s top club competition begins on March 7 and ends on May 25. The knockout phase starts in July.

Ruschel, who underwent spinal surgery after the crash, was released from hospital last week.



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