Chapecoense handed Copa Sudamericana trophy

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Rio de Janeiro, Dec 23 (IANS) Chapecoense have been presented with the Copa Sudamericana trophy, almost a month after their dream of winning the tournament was shattered by a plane crash.

South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL handed the trophy to new Chapecoense president Plinio David de Nes Filho during the draw for the 2017 Copa Libertadores in Luque, Paraguay, on Wednesday night, reports Xinhua news agency.

Seventy-one people died, including 19 Chapecoense players and all of their coaching staff, when the LaMia plane in which they were traveling crashed near Medellin, Colombia, on November 28.

The accident 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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CONMEBOL announced on December 5 that Chapecoense would be named winners of the tournament at the request of Atletico Nacional.

Upon receiving the trophy, an emotional De Nes Filho called Atletico Nacional representative Daniel Jimenez onto the stage.

“I would like to thank everyone, all the nations,” said De Nes Filho.

“But let me, in a very special way, a very tender and grateful way, on behalf of our club, Chape, to share the trophy we just received with the one who gave us this possibility, with their gesture of humanity and respect. Of dignity and demonstration of kindness,” he added before holding the trophy aloft with Jimenez.

Chapecoense were drawn alongside Uruguay’s Nacional, Lanus of Argentina and Venezuela’s Zulia in Group 7 of South America’s top club competition.

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