Copa Sudamericana trophy given to Chapecoense at Libertadores draw
Chapecoense were officially handed the Copa Sudamericana champions trophy on Wednesday evening at the draw for the 2017 Copa Libertadores tournament.
The small Brazilian club were awarded the trophy by CONMEBOL -- South America's football governing body -- after a plane carrying the team crashed en route to the final of the Copa Sudamericana in Medellin, Colombia, on Nov. 28 taking the lives of 71 people on board, including 19 players.
The movement to give the trophy to Chapecoense was driven in large part by Atletico Nacional, the Colombian team that awaited the Brazilian club in the two-legged final for the Copa Sudamericana that was set to kick off on Nov. 30.
New Chapecoense president Plínio David de Nes Filho, whose predecessor Sandro Pallaoro was killed in the crash, accepted the trophy on behalf of Chapecoense before calling Atletico Nacional representative Daniel Jimenez to the stage to share the award with him.
"I would like to thank everyone, all the nations. 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," De Nes Filho said before holding the trophy together with Jimenez.
As winners of the Copa Sudamericana, Chapecoense were included in the Copa Lib draw later in the evening and were picked alongside of Uruguay's Nacional, Lanus of Argentina and Venezuela's Zulia as part of Group 7 in the prestigious annual South American club tournament.
Chapecoense will return to competitive play on Jan. 29 against Internacional de Lages, four days after Brazil and Colombia meet in a friendly to benefit victims of the crash and their families.