Al Ain FC

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Al-Ain
Alainnewlogo.png
Full name Al-Ain Football Club
نادي العين لكرة القدم
Nickname(s) Al Zaeem (The Boss)
Founded August 1968
Ground Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium
Ground Capacity 25,500
President Mohammed Bin Zayed
Manager Zlatko Dalić
League Arabian Gulf League
2013–14 6th
Website Club home page
Current season

Al-Ain Football Club (Arabic: نادي العين لكرة القدم‎; transliterated: Nady al-'Ayn) or Al-Ain FC or simply Al-Ain is a professional football club, based in the city of Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It is one of many sport sections of the multi-sports club Al Ain Sports and Cultural Club (Arabic: نادي العين الرياضي الثقافي‎) Al Ain SCC for short.

The club was founded in 1968 by players from Al Ain, members of a Bahraini group of exchange students and the Sudanese community working in the United Arab Emirates.[1]

Al Ain is by far the most successful club in the UAE.[2] The team quickly gained popularity and recognition throughout the country, being the team with the most tournament titles (58 in total).[3] Al Ain has won a record 11 Arabian Gulf League titles, 6 President's Cups, 3 Federation Cups, 1 Arabian Gulf Cup, a record four Super Cups, two Abu Dhabi Championship Cups, one Joint League Cup, Gulf Club Champions Cup and AFC Champions League. The club is the first and only UAE side so far to win the AFC Champions League.[4]

History[edit]

Foundation and early years[edit]

In 1960, a group of young men learned the rules of the game by watching British Soldiers playing football and formed their own team. The first pitch was very simple and small took the shape of a square sandy plot of land on the main street near the Clock Roundabout in Al Ain.[5]

In August 1968, the club was officially established, taking its name from that of the city. The founders thought it was necessary to have a permanent headquarters for the club and rented a house on the current Khalifa Road for club meetings. The club's founders took responsibility for all the club's affairs, from planning the stadium to cleaning the club headquarters and washing the kit.[5] Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was approached for assistance and he provided the club with a permanent headquarters in the Al Jahili district and a Land Rover to serve the club and the team.[6] Al Ain made a successful debut by beating a team made up of British soldiers and went on to play friendly matches against other Abu Dhabi clubs. In 1969, the team played their first match against international opposition when they were defeated 7-1 by the Egyptian club Ismaily in a friendly match for the war effort. In 1970, a group members of the club (Hadher Khalaf Al Muhairi, Saleem Al Khudhrawi, Mohammed Khalaf Al Muhairi and Mahmoud Fadhlullah) broke away and founded Al Tadhamun Club.[7] In 1971, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan provided the club with new headquarters with modern specifications: the Khalifa Stadium in Al Sarooj district.[6] In 1972, Al Ain a friendly in the UAE against the leading Brazilian team São Paulo ended in a 13-0 win for the South American visitors. In 1974 Al Ain combined with the breakaway Al Tadhamun, to form the Al Ain Sports Club. The first board of directors of the club was formed after the merger under the chairmanship Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri.[7]

The founders were Mohammed Saleh Bin Badooh and Khalifa Nasser Al Suwaidi, Saeed Ghannoum, Abdullah Hazzam, Salem Hassan Al Muhairi, Abdullah and Mane'a Ajlan, Abdullah Al Mansouri, Saeed Al Muwaisi, Nasser Dhaen, Abdullah Matar, Juma Al Najem, Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Ibrahim Rasool and Ali Al Maloud and Ali Bu Majeed, who were the members of the Bahraini group of exchange students, and Ma'moun Abdul Qader, Mahmoud Fadhlullah, Al Fateh Al Talb, Hussain Al Meerghani and Abbas Ali from the Sudanese community working in the UAE.[1]

First titles and Entry to the Football League (1974–1997)[edit]

1975–76 season starting lineup
Jassim Al Dhaheri
Subait Anber
Saeed Mubarak
Omar Hajeer
Abdullah Matar
Fayez Subait
Juma Khalaf
Abdalhafez Arab
Ahmed Al Qatari
Shayea Masoud
Ali Saeed
Awad Saeed

In February 1974, the club won its first title, the Abu Dhabi League. On 13 November 1974, Sheikh Khalifa was named honorary president of Al Ain, in recognition of his continuing support for the club.[7] On 21 May 1975, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected Chairman of Board of Directors. In 1975, Al Ain won its second Abu Dhabi League[8] In the same year on 21 March 1975, the club played its first UAE President Cup losing 4-5 on penalties in the Round of 16 against Al Shaab after drawing 1-1 in normal time. In 1975–76 season, the team participated for the first time in the UAE Football League, finishing runners-up behind Al Ahli. Al Ain won its first League title in the 1976–77 season, after drawing 1-1 with Al Sharjah in the last match. In the following season, they finished runners-up to Al Nasr; Mohieddine Habita was the top scorer with 20 goals. In the 1978–79 season, Al Ain secure third place with 27 points in the league and defeated by Al Sharjah in the President Cup final.

Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan became president of Al Ain in 19 January 1979. Al Ain won the League again in the 1980–81 season and lost the President Cup final to Al Shabab of Dubai. In 1983–84, the team won Joint League Cup and followed with its third League title, becoming the second with Al Ahli to have won the championship three times. The team had the strongest attack with 35 goals, and Ahmed Abdullah, with 20 goals was the joint-winner of the Arab League Golden Boot award for top corer, alongside Al Wasl striker Fahad Khamees. This season was the first season in which foreign players were excluded from the UAE League, a restriction which was opposed by Al Ain. The team were eliminated in the ualifying stages of the 1986 Asian Club Championship. After winning the League title in 1983–84 season, Al Ain failed to win any trophies till 1989 when they won the Federation Cup. In the following year they reached the final of the President Cup, losing to Al Shabab.

The 1992–93 season began with several new signings: Saif Sultan (Ittihad Kalba), Salem Johar (Ajman), Majed Al Owais (Al Thaid), Saeed Juma (Emirates). Al Ain won their fourth League title with three games left to play, after a 5–0 win at Al Khaleej. In the following season, they finished second in the Football League and were runners-up the 1993 UAE Super Cup losing 2-1 against Al Shaab of Sharjah. They also reached the President Cup final but were beaten 1-0 by Al Shabab, failing for the fourth time to win the Cup. In 1994 and 1995, Al Ain lost two President Cup finals, finished second in the League, won the 1995 UAE Super Cup and lost out in the Asian Cup Winners' Cup second round to the Kuwaiti team Kazma. In the 1996–97 season, Al Ain were eliminated in the round of 16 of the President Cup by Hatta of Dubai and finished fourth in the Football League.

The Golden Age (1997–2003)[edit]

Before the start of the 1997–98 season, the honorary board was formed in 7 June 1997.[9] After this important quantum leap, Al Ain won the league championship. In the following season, they won the President Cup and finished runner-up in the league and secured the third place in their second appearance in Asian Club Championship, after the 1986. Ilie Balaci took charge in 1999. He led them to their sixth league championship, while in the Asian Cup Winners' Cup they were eliminated by Al Jaish on the away goals rule in the first round.

In 2003, Al Ain contested the AFC Champions League competition. In the Group stage they won all three matches, beating Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, Al Sadd of Qatar and Esteghlal of Iran. In the semi-final they were matched against the Chinese side Dalian Shide over two legs. In the first game, Al Ain won 4-2 at home, with Boubacar Sanogo scoring twice. In the return match in China Al Ain went 4-2 down with six minutes to play but won 7-6 on aggregate after a late goal by Farhad Majidi. The final saw Al Ain face BEC Tero Sasana of Thailand. In the home leg, Al Ain prevailed 2-0 with goals from Salem Johar and Mohammad Omar. At the Rajamangala Stadium on 11 October, Al Ain were beaten 1-0 by Tero Sasano, but won 2-1 on aggregate to become the first Emirati club to win the Champions League.

Grounds[edit]

Hazza Bin Zayed
Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium.jpg
Capacity 25,000
Field size 45 m × 50 m (148 ft × 164 ft)
Construction
Opened 14 January 2014 (2014-01-14)
Architect Pattern Design Limited (2014)

Al Ain first playground was set up on the main street near the Clock Roundabout. Took the shape of a square sandy plot of land.[10]

Al Ain owns three home ground, Tahnoun bin Mohammed, Sheikh Khalifa International, Hazza Bin Zayed which opened on 14 January 2014.

Crest and colours[edit]

The Al Jahili Castle is considered as a symbol of the club, because it reflects the history of the city and also was the formal home of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan since 1946 when he was a ruler's representative. It officially became a crest for the club in 1980.[11]

The team began playing in green and white in 1968. After merging with Al Tadhamun in 1974, their red color became Al Ain's from season 1974–75 till the start of season 1976–77. During the first team training camp in Morocco in 1977, a friendly tournament was held by Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca with the Nice, Sporting CP, and Anderlecht. Al Ain admired Anderlecht's purple colors, and an idea came to change Al Ain's colors to purple. The idea was presented to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, who agreed to change the club colors officially to the purple with the beginning of the season 1977–78.[12]

Personnel[edit]

Current technical staff[edit]

Position Name
First team head coach Croatia Zlatko Dalić
Assistant coach Croatia Dražen Ladić
United States Hisham Sorour
Croatia Branimir Ujevic
Goalkeeping coach Iraq Bashar Abdul-Jalil
Fitness coach Croatia Frano Leko
Club doctor Croatia Jurica Rakic
Nutritionist Morocco Mohsen Belhoz
Physiotherapist Croatia Miroslav Jamnic
Croatia Ivica Orsolic
Croatia Marin Polonijo
Egypt Abdul Nasser Al Juhani
U-21 team head coach Croatia Borimir Perkovic
Team Manager United Arab Emirates Matar Obaid Al Sahbani
Team Supervisor United Arab Emirates Mohammed Obeid Hammad
Team Administrator United Arab Emirates Nasser Al Junaibi
Director of football United Arab Emirates Khalifa Suleiman

Last updated: July 2014
Source: Al Ain FC

Management[edit]

Board members[edit]

President United Arab Emirates Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Vice President United Arab Emirates Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Chairman of Board of Directors United Arab Emirates Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Khaled Al Nahyan
Vice Chairman of Board of Directors United Arab Emirates Rashed Mubarak Al Hajeri
Board of Directors Member United Arab Emirates Mohammed Salem Omair Al Shamisi
Board of Directors Member United Arab Emirates Mohammed Abdullah Bin Bdoua Al Darmaki
Board of Directors Member United Arab Emirates Mohamed Obaid Helal Al Dhaheri

Last updated: 1 May 2011
Source: Al Ain FC

In the past HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, half brother of Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed also chaired the club in the 1970s.[14]

In the 1990s, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan was Chairman of the Board, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan vice-chairman.[14]

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
3 Ghana FW Asamoah Gyan
4 United Arab Emirates MF Sultan Al Ghaferi
5 United Arab Emirates DF Ismail Ahmed
6 United Arab Emirates MF Abdurahman Khadoum
7 United Arab Emirates MF Ali Al-Wehaibi
8 United Arab Emirates MF Rashed Eisa (on loan from Al Wasl)
9 France MF Jirès Kembo Ekoko
10 United Arab Emirates MF Omar Abdulrahman
11 United Arab Emirates FW Hamad Al-Ahbabi
12 United Arab Emirates GK Waleed Salem (Vice Captain)
13 United Arab Emirates FW Khalifa Rashed
14 United Arab Emirates MF Saoud Msabeh
15 United Arab Emirates DF Khaled Abdulrahman
16 United Arab Emirates MF Mohammed Abdulrahman
17 United Arab Emirates GK Khalid Eisa
18 United Arab Emirates MF Ibrahim Diaky
No. Position Player
19 United Arab Emirates DF Mohanad Salem
20 United Arab Emirates MF Helal Saeed (Captain)
21 United Arab Emirates DF Fawzi Fayez
22 United Arab Emirates GK Mahmoud Almas
23 United Arab Emirates DF Mohamed Ahmed
24 United Arab Emirates MF Ahmed Barman
29 South Korea MF Lee Myung-Joo
30 United Arab Emirates MF Mohammed Al Saadi
35 United Arab Emirates FW Yousef Ahmed
36 United Arab Emirates GK Dawoud Sulaiman
38 United Arab Emirates DF Saeed Mosabah
43 United Arab Emirates MF Ryan Yslam
44 United Arab Emirates DF Faris Jumaa
50 United Arab Emirates DF Mohammed Fayez
77 United Arab Emirates DF Mohamed Fawzi
99 Slovakia MF Miroslav Stoch (on loan from Fenerbahçe)

On loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
2 United Arab Emirates DF Mohammed Ali Ayed (at Al Shabab)
27 United Arab Emirates MF Salem Abdullah (at Al Wasl)
31 United Arab Emirates MF Hazza Salem (at Al Wasl)
No. Position Player
33 United Arab Emirates MF Mohammed Salem (at Al Wasl)
77 United Arab Emirates MF Haddaf Al Aameri (at Ajman)

Managerial history[edit]

* Served as caretaker coach.

Top scorers[edit]

Note: this includes goals scored in all competitions.[15]

No. Nationality Player Goals
1 United Arab Emirates Ahmed Abdullah 180
2 Ghana Asamoah Gyan 114
3 United Arab Emirates Matar Al Sahbani 93
4 Tunisia Mohieddine Habita 71
5 United Arab Emirates Majid Al Owais 70
6 United Arab Emirates Salem Johar 60
7 United Arab Emirates Saif Sultan 55
8 United Arab Emirates Abdul Hameed Al Mistaki 45

Honours[edit]

Bruno Metsu, who led the club to their first AFC Champions League title in 2003

Domestic competitions[edit]

Winners (11) (record): 1976–77, 1980–81, 1983–84, 1992–93, 1997–98, 1999–00, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2011–12, 2012–13
Runners-up (7):[18] 1975–76, 1977–78, 1981–82, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1998–99, 2004–05
Winners (6): 1999, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2014
Runners-up (6): 1979, 1981, 1990, 1994, 1995, 2007
Winners (3): 1989, 2005, 2006
Winners (1): 2008–09
Runners-up (1): 2010–11
Winners (4) (record): 1995, 2003, 2009, 2012
Runners-up (3):1993, 2002, 2013
  • Abu Dhabi Championship Cup[16]
Winners (2): 1974, 1975
  • Joint League Cup[16]
Winners (1): 1983

Gulf competitions[edit]

Winners (1) : 2001

Asian competitions[edit]

Winners (1) : 2003
Runners-up (1) : 2005
Third place (1) : 1999

AFC competitions history[edit]

2002–03: Champion
2004: Quarter-Finals
2005: Finalist
2006: Quarter-Finals
2007: Group Stage
2010: Group Stage
2011: Group Stage
2013: Group Stage
2014: Semi-finals
1986: Qualifying Stage
1999: 3rd place
2001: Second Round
1995/96: Second Round
1999/00: First Round
2001/02: Quarter-Finals

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "club Foundation3". alainclub.com. Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Al Ain look to the future". Fifa. 
  3. ^ "40 years of UAE Football". EmaratAlYoum. 
  4. ^ "Al Ain "The Boss" with 58 titles". EmaratAlYoum. 
  5. ^ a b "The Beginning". alainclub.com. Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "club Foundation4". alainclub.com. Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "club Foundation5". alainclub.com. Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "club Foundation - 2". alainteam.com. Archived from the original on 27 March 2005. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "The honorary board". alainteam.com (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 11 December 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "first playground". alainclub.com. Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  11. ^ "Club Emblem" (in Arabic). AlAinClub.com. Archived from the original on 11 May 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "The Purple Story". alainclub.com (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Club Management". Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Al Ain.. The Past, the Present and the Future". alainclub.com. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Top Scorers". alainteam.com. Archived from the original on 20 January 2004. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Club Milestones". Al Ain FC. 
  17. ^ "List of Cup Winners". RSSSF. 
  18. ^ "List of Champions". RSSSF. 

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Suwon Samsung Bluewings
South Korea
Champions of Asia
2002–03
Succeeded by
Al-Ittihad
Saudi Arabia