In the face of a great tragedy that ripped apart the Brazilian soccer team, one player cannot forgive himself. Aggrieved Chapecoense goalkeeper Nivaldo broke down in tears as he announced his retirement from the game.
The Chapecoense soccer team was travelling to Colombian city of Medellin. They were scheduled to play the finals of Copa Sudamerica against Athletico Nacional. They never made it to their destination.
Brazilian Soccer Team Crash: Nivaldo Retires
The Avro RJ85 jet carrying the players crashed on a hill after experiencing electric failure. The incident took place at around 10.15 p.m., Tuesday, as the team made its way from Bolivia.
Apart from the soccer players, the plane carried crew members, technical staff and journalists. Seventy-one people perished in the tragic accident, including 19 Chapecoense players. Only five survived.
Nivaldo, veteran goalkeeper, decided to sit out the Copa Sudamerica final because he wanted to play his 300th game against Atletico-MG for his club.
“I was supposed to go on the trip but ended up staying,” Nivaldo told Globoesporte, as reported by the Telegraph. “Everything has a reason in life… As there was a change in the trip, they would not return to Chapeco and instead go straight from Sao Paulo to Medellín. So Caio [the coach] said he would not take me.”
Nivaldo, 42, fought back tears during the interview, where he announced he would be retiring from the game following the terrible loss.
Brazilian Soccer Team Crash: Non-Travelling Chapecoense Players Grieving
Some of the other players spared from the unfortunate fate are Alejandro Martinuccio, Nenem, Demerson, Marcelo Boeck, Andrei, Hyoran, Nivaldo, Moises and Rafael Lima.
Most of them were seen sitting with dazed expressions in the club locker room after the terrible news broke out. The drastic change in the players’ demeanors was heart-breaking. Especially since they were seen jumping for joy a few days after reaching the Copa Sudamerica final.
Alejandro Martinuccio, one of the non-travelling players, told Argentina’s La Red radio, as reported by the Daily Mail, “I was saved because I got injured. I feel profound sadness. The only thing I can ask is prayers for the companions who were on the flight.”
As a gesture of condolence, Atletico Nacional, the team they were supposed to go up against in the finals, requested the American Football Federation to give the winner’s trophy to the Chapecoense after the tragedy.
“… Atletico Nacional ask Conmebol to give the title of Copa Sudamericana be given to the Chapecoense as an honorary award for this great loss, and in posthumous homage to the victims of the fatal accident that impute our sport,” their statement read.