Millennium Post

Tragedy strikes

In a tragic turn of events, a charter plane carrying a Brazilian football team crashed in the mountains of Colombia late on Monday, killing 76 people. Only five people survived the accident, including three players of Chapecoense Real, a Brazilian football club which was to have played in the Copa Sudamericana finals on Wednesday against Atletico Nacional of Colombia. To the uninitiated, the Copa Sudamericana is the South American equivalent of the famed Europa League. Reports indicate that the plane crashed due to “electrical failures” in the aircraft. This football tragedy is all the more poignant considering that the little-fancied Chapecoense Real, a relatively small fish in Brazilian football, was on the verge of its most glorious week. Members of this unfancied club were flying to Colombia to take part in their first continental final. Often compared to reigning English Premier League champions Leicester City, Chapecoense Real was on the verge to becoming a team from an unfancied city that was able to win a major title. In their domestic league, they had already risen above clubs with greater financial clout and more illustrious histories. In its essence, football is a team game, and Chapecoense Real had become yet another glorious embodiment of this ethos. In mourning the loss of this promising team, one is reminded of another tragedy. One of football history’s most tragic incidents is the Munich air disaster, which occurred on 6 February 1958 when British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a runway at Munich airport. On the plane was the promising Manchester United football squad, nicknamed the "Busby Babes", along with supporters and journalists. Under the tutelage of legendary manager Sir Matt Busby, this team of young talented players, which included future World Cup winning captain Sir Bobby Charlton, was on the verge of breaking many barriers and conquering the European football. Many of the “Busby Babes” tragically died in the crash. Among the few who survived were Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton. But from the ashes of this tragedy, both Busby and Charlton went onto play key roles in rebuilding and reinvigorating the club. A decade later, Manchester United under Sir Matt won the European Cup. One does hope that world football gives Chapecoense Real the same support. Many football fans also hope that the club has the fortitude to come back onto the main stage. For now, however, the football world shall mourn the loss of this special team.
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