Chapecoense set to sign 18 to 20 new players while U-20s return to action

Brazilian club Chapecoense, who were devastated by an air crash disaster five weeks ago are ready to rebuild their team with the signing of 18 to 20 news players for the upcoming season.

The airline crash in Colombia which claimed 71 lives on Nov. 28 2016, including most of the senior players from Chapecoense.

They were due to travel to Medellin to take on Atletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final.

Goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, centre-back Neto and full-back Alan Ruschel survived the crash and the club's director of football Rui Costa, said that their shirt numbers will be reserved for them as they continue recovery and a possible return to the pitch.

"No player this season will use the shirts that were worn by Jackson Follmann, Neto or Alan Ruschel," Costa said.

"More than a tribute, we expect Alan and Neto to come back and wear them. Follmann sadly won't be able to but he will certainly be back here with us in some capacity. The only ones that can wear those jerseys are them."

With the new season starting on Jan. 26 with a home game against Joinville, Costa also stressed that the club are looking to sign 18 to 20 players.

Costa did however confirm that the bulk of the new squad will be loan signings, from rival clubs who have come out in full force to back Chapecoense's rebuilding efforts after the crash.

Cruzeiro centre-back Douglas Grolli was the first player announced on Tuesday to have signed for the club having spent last season on loan at Ponte Preta.

"We are resorting to a lot of loans. That is a tool for bringing together quality, speed and budget. Many clubs are being partners in this," he added.

"We looked at 90 players, we whittled that down to 50 and finally had a list of 38 players that got down to the number of players we have today.

"We have a group ready to start preseason training. We'll probably have between 25 and 27 players."

Meanwhile, Chapecoense's U-20 team were back in action on Wednesday when they lost 2-0 to the Nova Iguacu U-20.