Al Shorta SC

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This article is about an Iraqi football club. For the Syrian football club, see Al Shorta SC (Damascus).
Al Shorta
Al-Shorta Football Club Logo.png
Full name Al Shorta Sports Club
Nickname(s) Al Qeetharah Al Khadra (The Green Harps) - القيثارة الخضراء
Founded 14 November 1932; 82 years ago (1932) as Montakhab Al Shorta
Ground Al-Shaab Stadium (temporary),
Baghdad
Ground Capacity 35,000
Chairman Iraq Ayad Bunyan
Manager Egypt Mohamed Youssef
League Iraqi Premier League
2013–14 Iraqi Premier League, 1st
Current season

Al Shorta Sports Club (Police Sports Club, Arabic: نادي الشرطة الرياضي‎) is an Iraqi football club based in Rusafa District, East Districts of the Tigris River, Baghdad. They are widely regarded as Iraq's best team and they are one of only two Iraqi teams to ever win any major competition outside of Iraq (the other being Al-Rasheed), having won the Arab Champions League in 1982. They have won ten League of the Institutes and Iraqi Premier League titles, and are the reigning league champions of the country, winning the title in both the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons.

The club are one of only two teams in Iraqi football history to go an entire league season unbeaten, achieving this monumental feat in the 1980–81 season and have won a joint record three Umm Al Ma'arak (mother of all battles) Cups (in 2000, 2001 and 2002).

Al Shorta were founded in 1932 under the name Montakhab Al Shorta and are the third-oldest football club in the country. The club was separated into a number of different clubs in the 1960s and early 1970s, before merging back into one single club in 1974. In 1971, one of these clubs (Aliyat Al Shorta) reached the final of the Asian Champions Cup (now known as the AFC Champions League) but refused to play the final against the Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv. Despite this, the club have won a number of trophies outside of Iraq such as the President's Gold Cup and Arab Police Championship.

In 2014, Nike signed an official deal with Al Shorta to make their kits for the 2014–15 season and Al Shorta became the first Iraqi club in history to have an official kit supplier.

History[edit]

Aliyat Al Shorta players lining up before a game in the city of Arbil in 1969.

Al Shorta were founded on 14 November 1932, and are the third-oldest team in Iraq. They were founded under the name 'Montakhab Al Shorta' (Police XI) and this name lasted until 1962. In Montakhab Al Shorta's early years, the squad was formed of policemen in Iraq who were chosen to represent the Iraqi Police force in football tournaments. The first three tournaments that they competed in were the 1932-33, 1933–34 and 1934–35 editions of the Prince Ghazi Cup, but they failed to win any of them.

Al Shorta have won 23 trophies since their foundation. The first of them came in 1938, when Montakhab Al Shorta won the Taha Hashemi Cup after defeating Al Quwa Al Jawiya 1–0. Montakhab Al Shorta then defeated Al Quwa Al Jawiya again a year later, this time it was 2–0. This game was the final of the Al Quwa Al Jawiya Cup, a tournament created by themselves. In the same year, Montakhab Al Shorta crushed Al Karkh 5–1 in the final of the Olympic Club Cup to secure their third piece of silverware in two years.

In 1962, Montakhab Al Shorta became Aliyat Al Shorta (Police Machinery) and they were organised under the Police Games Directorate (up until the formation of the club as a sports club in 1974). It was during their time as Aliyat Al Shorta that the club were most successful, winning six League of the Institutes titles in the space of ten years. The first came in the 1962–63 season, with further successes coming in the 1965–66, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70 and 1971–72 seasons. Moreover, Aliyat Al Shorta were on the top of the table in the 1966–67 season before that edition of the competition was cancelled due to the Six-Day War. In 1971, Aliyat Al Shorta reached the final of the Asian Champion Club Tournament and were set to face Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv. However, Aliyat Al Shorta refused to play the Israeli side for political reasons and therefore automatically lost the game.

In 1974, Aliyat Al Shorta merged with the other two Police teams in Iraq (Shorta Al Najda and Kuliya Al Shorta) to form the sports club of Al Shorta, the only club representing the Iraqi Police force today. The first trophy Al Shorta won since the change was in 1976 when they won the 1976 Arab Police Quartet Championship in what was their first title outside of Iraq. 1978 saw them win it again but the tournament was under the new name of 'Arab Police Championship Cup'. Al Shorta won the tournament for the third and final time in 1985. A year later, they competed in the Saddam International Tournament but disappointingly failed to advance past the group stages.

In between the two Arab Police Championship Cup triumphs was an even bigger one. Al Shorta had reached the final of one of the biggest tournaments in Asia, the Arab Champions League in 1982, against Al Nejmeh, and defeated them 4–2 on aggregate over the two legs. Al Shorta are one of only two Iraqi sides to win this tournament. The next year saw Al Shorta win another tournament outside of Iraq, the President's Gold Cup, in which they defeated Malaysia 2–0 in the final. After this triumph, the club changed its name from 'Al Shorta' to 'Quwat Al Emen Al Dakhili' (Internal Security Forces). However, this name only lasted until 1984 when the name was changed back to Al Shorta and it has remained the same ever since.

Al Shorta have reached the final of the Iraq FA Cup on 5 occasions, however have lost every one. Al Shorta's first defeat was at the hands of Al Quwa Al Jawiya in 1977–78, and in 1995–96 Al Shorta lost the final to Al Zawraa. Another defeat to Al Quwa Al Jawiya followed the next season, and two consecutive 1–0 losses to Al Talaba in the 2001–02 and 2002–03 seasons then occurred.

Since the League of the Institutes was changed to the Iraqi Premier League, Al Shorta have won four league titles, coming in the 1979–80, 1997–98, 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons. Furthermore, they were top of the league in the 2002–03 season but the competition was cancelled near the end, preventing Al Shorta from adding another league title to their long list of honours. By winning the Iraqi League of 1997–98, Al Shorta qualified for the Al Muthabara Cup (Super Cup). Here they would play Iraq FA Cup champions Al Zawraa, however Al Shorta lost 1–0. By winning the 2012–13 Iraqi League, Al Shorta qualified for the 2014 AFC Cup, and they also entered the 2014 AFC Champions League qualifiers, but lost 1–0 to Al Kuwait S.C. in the first qualifying round.

Three domestic cups would soon follow the league triumph of 1998 as Al Shorta won the Umm Al Ma’arak (mother of all battles) Cup three times in a row (after losing the final in 1997). The first win came in 2000, when Amer Mushraf's goal led Al Shorta to a 1–0 win over Al Zawraa. Maher Habeeb's late goal in extra-time led Al Shorta to a win in the 2001–02 season over Al Talaba and Al Talaba would lose again to Al Shorta in the next edition of the tournament thanks to another Amer Mushraf goal.

After the 2002 Umm Al Ma'arak Cup success, Al Shorta competed in the Al-Quds International Championship, and won the tournament by defeating Al Najaf 1–0 in the final from a goal from Ahmed Hussein Adan. Al Shorta won yet another competition in 2013, the Baghdad Cup, by defeating Al Zawraa 1–0 in the final due to Hussein Karim's goal.

Al Shorta have performed respectively in continental competitions of recent years, including coming in 4th place in the Algomhuria International Cup in 2004. They qualified to the AFC Champions League in both 2004 and 2005, but failed to get past the group stage in both tournaments, and they failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Champions League, losing their only qualifying match 1–0 to Al Kuwait S.C. As a result, they participated in the AFC Cup for the first time in their history in 2014 but, disappointingly, they were knocked out in the group stage. They also failed to get out of group stages in both the Asian Club Championship in 1999–00 and the Arab Champions League (Prince Faisal bin Fahd Tournament for Arab Clubs) in 2003. Al Shorta competed in the 1997–98 Asian Cup Winners' Cup and reached the quarter-finals of the tournament.

An Al Shorta team photo from the 2011–12 season.

After starting the 2006–07 season brilliantly by being the only team to win all their games in the first group, including two victories over Al Quwa Al Jawiya, Al Shorta were eventually knocked out in the final (elite) stage of the competition.

In 2007–08 they topped their first group but finished 3rd in the final (elite) stage, one place away from the next round.

In 2008–09 they failed to get through Group A with a disappointing 8th place finish.

In 2009–10, Al Shorta were very close to the semi-finals. They were 2–0 up to Al Najaf knowing that a win would qualify them, but they drew the game 2–2 and Al Talaba qualified one point ahead of them. In this season they also managed to beat Arbil away from home 1–0; Al Talaba were the only other team who managed to do this.

In 2010–11, Al Shorta finished 8th in North Group, one place ahead of the relegation zone.

In the 2011–12 season, Al Shorta were on course for a top-four finish but a run of 6 losses in a row led them to 7th place in the Iraqi League.

Al Shorta's legendary midfielder Nashat Akram lifts the Iraqi League trophy after the side won the league in the 2012–13 season.

Al Shorta had a fantastic 2012–13 season, winning the Iraqi Premier League for the first time since 1998 and losing just two games in the entire season. They clinched the league title on the final day of the season by beating Al Talaba 3–0, sparking wild celebrations in the national stadium. They also defeated Al Zawraa 1–0 to win the 2013 Baghdad Cup. As league champions, Al Shorta qualified for the AFC Cup for the first time in their history.

The 2013–14 season was another successful one for the club as they won their second league title in a row, albeit in totally different circumstances. After playing 21 games, they were top of the league with games in hand over most of the teams in the league but the competition was ended prematurely due to unrest in the country. The IFA decided that the standings were to remain the same, meaning that Al Shorta were the champions for the fourth time in their history; they will play in the 2015 AFC Champions League qualifiers and if they fail to qualify for the competition proper, they will participate in the AFC Cup for the second season running. They played in their first ever AFC Cup in this season but failed to advance past the group stages, playing out four goalless draws from six games.

[1]

Club colours[edit]

Green White Purple

Kits[edit]

The home kit is green with yellow, white and grey designs and the all-white away kit consists of red and green stars along with some grey trimmings on the sleeve. Al Shorta's kits are manufactured by Nike and are sponsored by Royal Arena Sport.[2]

Past Kits[edit]

Ultras Green Harp[edit]

In 2012, Al Shorta supporters founded a group known as Ultras Green Harp. The supporters group has become well-known throughout Iraqi football as the most passionate group of football fans in Iraq and the group's banners and logos can be seen in any stadium that their club play in. The number of group members is slowly increasing as the club is slowly becoming more and more famous throughout Asia. The foundation of this group has significantly increased both the number of Al Shorta fans in stadiums and their presence in matches.

Al Shorta against rivals Al Zawraa in February 2013.

Baghdad Derbies[edit]

Al Shorta are one of the top four clubs in Baghdad. The club compete in Baghdad derbies with the other three big clubs in Baghdad, Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, Al Zawraa, and Al Talaba.

Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya are their most local rivals but Al Zawraa are commonly thought of as their most historic rivals.

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
1 Iraq GK Saif Jameel
2 Iraq DF Waleed Salem
3 Iraq DF Ali Bahjat
4 Syria DF Hamdi Al Masri
5 Iraq MF Hussein Abdul-Wahed (vice-captain)
6 Iraq DF Karrar Mohammed
7 Iraq FW Sherko Kareem
8 Iraq FW Ammar Abdul-Hussein
9 Iraq MF Mahdi Kamel
10 Iraq FW Marwan Hussein
11 Iraq DF Dhirgham Ismail
12 Iraq GK Mohammed Gassid
13 Brazil FW Caion
14 Iraq FW Amjad Kalaf
15 Iraq MF Nashat Akram (captain)
No. Position Player
17 Iraq FW Alaa Abdul-Zahra
18 Iraq MF Mahdi Karim
19 Iraq MF Ahmad Ayad
20 Iraq MF Muthana Khalid
22 Cameroon DF Innocent Awoa
23 Iraq GK Mohammed Hameed
26 Iraq FW Muhanned Ali
27 Iraq FW Karrar Hameed
28 Cameroon MF Makadji Boukar
31 Iraq DF Salam Shakir
32 Iraq GK Ahmed Basil
Iraq MF Haider Salim
Iraq MF Haider Muthanna
Iraq MF Murtadha Hadeeb
Iraq FW Akram Jassim

Out 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
Iraq MF Ahmad Fadhel (at Baghdad FC until the end of the 2014-15 season)

Backroom staff and club officials[edit]

Name Position
Egypt Mohamed Youssef Manager
Iraq Karim Nafea Assistant Manager
Brazil Anderson Nicolau Fitness Coach
Iraq Walid Juma Fitness Coach
Brazil Marquinhos Domingues Goalkeeping Coach
Brazil Tony Physiotherapist
Iraq Mohammed Tabra Technical Advisor
Iraq Hashim Ridha Administrative Director
Iraq Sirwan Raouf Administrative Assistant
Iraq Bilal Hussein Administrator
Iraq Abdulrahman Ali Technical Processor
Iraq Haider Abdul-Zahra Assistant Technical Processor

Boardroom positions[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Chairman: Ayad Binyan Iraq
Vice-chairman: Adnan Jafar Iraq
Member of the Board: Ghazi Faisal Iraq
Member of the Board: Salam Faraj Iraq
Member of the Board: Ali Abdul-Zahra Iraq

[3]

Al Shorta in the Iraqi League[edit]

Iraqi Premier League Iraqi Premier League 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)

Iraqi Premier League Iraqi Premier League Iraq War

Iraqi Premier League 2014–15 Iraqi Premier League

Al Shorta's positions in the 1988–89, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons are not applicable due to the fact that these eight editions of the competition were played in a group stage format with multiple rounds rather than a round-robin format.

Recent history[edit]

Season Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P FAC BGDC AFCCL AFCC ACL Notes
2000–01 3 30 19 3 8 60 26 60 Winners
2001–02 3 38 24 8 6 85 35 80 Runners-up Winners
2002–03 27 19 5 3 60 24 Runners-up Winners Group Stage League abandoned, also won Al-Quds Cup
2003–04 6 5 1 0 19 4 Semi-finals Group Stage League abandoned
2004–05 Elite stage 18 7 3 8 26 19 Group Stage Came 4th in Algomhuria International Cup
2005–06 Elite stage 16 10 4 2 29 9
2006–07 Elite stage 11 7 1 3 14 8
2007–08 Elite stage 28 14 10 4 45 23
2008–09 8 in Group 1 26 8 10 8 29 29
2009–10 Elite stage 40 19 14 7 54 38
2010–11 8 in North Group 26 8 11 7 28 23
2011–12 7 38 16 11 11 45 37 59
2012–13 1 34 20 12 2 62 29 72 Also won the Baghdad Cup
2013–14 1 21 12 7 2 29 13 43 First qualifying round Group Stage
  • From the 2004–05 season, the competition changed from the single league system to a system with various rounds including groups and knockout rounds.
  • From the 2011–12 season, the competition went back to the single league system.

Stadium[edit]

Main article: Al Shorta Stadium
Al Shorta Stadium

Al Shorta Stadium was the name of Al Shorta's home ground. It held between 7,000 and 10,000 people. The white hall on the side of the field could hold approximately 2,000 people. The stadium had no seats, but instead there were green and white stairs on each side of the playing field and spectators sat or stood on these stairs. It was home to many great matches for Al Shorta. It was built by volunteers and Al Shorta fans and staff at the club, making the stadium even more special. Abdul-Kadir Zeinal, Al Shorta's manager from 1975 to 1979, was the man who came up with the idea of building the stadium and the supporters approved of the idea and helped to build the stadium. After a few years of construction, the stadium was opened in 1983. It was demolished in 2014 to make way for Al Shorta Sports City and the club used Al Shaab Stadium for the remainder of their home games in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

Al Shorta Sports City[edit]

Early in the 2012-13 season, Al Shorta's president Ayad Binyan announced plans to build a new stadium with plastic seats and other sports facilities around it. On 20 December 2013, the chairman of Nordic Sport (the Swedish company who is building the stadium) announced the initiation of construction of Al Shorta Sports City. Rather than being just a stadium, it is a 'sports city' because of the many more sports facilities, sports halls, buildings and entertainment at the venue.

The sports city includes an all-seater stadium with a capacity of over 10,000 as well as other sports facilities and the whole project is expected to take about 810 days from when construction begins in October 2014, which is about two years and three months. However, the construction of the all-seater stadium on its own should take six or seven months to complete, meaning that Al Shorta will be able to use the stadium in the 2015-16 season. The project will cost over 22 million pounds.

The stadium will have four stands with the main stand having a roof over it to protect spectators from the sun or from rain. Next to the stadium will be a training field where players will train every week and this training field will have an athletics track around it. Al Shorta Sports City will also include a swimming pool and a sports hall for basketball, volleyball and handball (other sports that Al Shorta participate in). There will be tennis courts in the city as well, and there will also be places for entertainment including a four-star hotel, a restaurant, a cafeteria, a club shop and beautiful gardens and fountains. Furthermore, there will also be a two-story building for managers, coaches and the board to construct meetings, sign contracts etc., a room for referees and officials and a room for players and coaches to take interviews.[4]

Statistics and records[edit]

In 2010, Amjad Kalaf became Al Shorta's youngest ever captain at 19 years old.

Al Shorta's tally of four Iraqi Premier League titles is the fourth highest in history, but their tally of six League of the Institutes titles is the highest in Iraqi football history. Their total of three Umm Al Ma'arak Cups is also the highest, joint with Al Zawraa, Al Talaba and Al Quwa Al Jawiya, and they are the only team to have won the tournament three times in a row.[5] Al Shorta are one of only two Iraqi clubs to have ever won a major competition outside of Iraq when they won the first ever Arab Champions League in 1982. They are also one of two Iraqi clubs to reach the final of the AFC Champions League, however Al Shorta withdrew from the game.

Abid Kadhim holds the record for the most appearances for Al Shorta, and he also managed the club two different times after his playing career. Younis Abid Ali has scored the most goals for Al Shorta in their history, and his tally of 153 Iraqi League goals is the fourth highest in the history of the league. His tally of 36 goals in the 1993–94 season is the highest number of goals that a player has scored in a single Iraqi League season.

In 1968, a record number of Al Shorta players were called up to play for the Iraq national team. A total of eight different Al Shorta players were called up to the squad. These players included Abid Kadhim, Douglas Aziz, Tariq Aziz, Mudhafar Nouri, Latif Shandal, Satar Khalaf and Mahmoud Assad. The same number of players were called up to play for Iraq in October 2013, equalling the record. These players were Mohammed Hameed, Ali Bahjat, Dhirgham Ismail, Waleed Salem, Qusay Munir, Mahdi Kamel, Ammar Abdul-Hussein and Amjad Kalaf. The record was equalled once more in October 2014, with Mohammed Hameed, Salam Shakir, Ali Bahjat, Dhirgham Ismail, Mahdi Karim, Amjad Kalaf, Mahdi Kamel and Marwan Hussein all being called up for Iraq.

In the 1980–81 season, Al Shorta became only the second club to finish an entire Iraqi Premier League season unbeaten. Al Minaa are the other team to have achieved this when they won the league in 1978. Al Shorta were the first team to play 100 Iraqi League games, the first team to play 200 Iraqi League games, the first team to play 300 Iraqi League games and the second team to play 1000 Iraqi League games. Al Shorta were ranked as the 35th best Asian club of the century (1901-2000),[6] and the 154th best Asian club in the last decade (2001-2010)[7] by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics).

Al Shorta were ranked as the 169th best club in the world by FIFA from 01/09/2001 to 30/08/2002.[8]

[9]

Managers[edit]

Al Shorta Sports Club plays in more than just football, as its name implies. It has teams in basketball, volleyball, handball, weightlifting, swimming and other sports. However, the club invests most of its money into football and is most well known for its footballing achievements.

Below are all of Al Shorta's managers in football since they were founded as a sports club.

[10]

Honours[edit]

Domestic competitions[edit]

Winners (6): 1962–63, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1971–72
Runners-up (4): 1964–65, 1970–71, 1972–73, 1973–74
Third Place (1): 1963–64
Winners (4): 1979–80, 1997–98, 2012–13, 2013–14
Runners-up (2): 1978–79, 1980–81
Third Place (8): 1975–76, 1976–77, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1995–96, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2001–02
Winners (3): 2000, 2001, 2002
Runners-up (1): 1997
Winners (1): 2013
  • Olympic Club Cup
Winners (1): 1939
  • Al Quwa Al Jawiya Cup
Winners (1): 1939
  • Taha Hashemi Cup
Winners (1): 1938
Runners-up (5): 1977–78, 1995–96, 1996–97, 2001–02, 2002–03
Runners-up (1): 1998
  • Al Intisar Al Salam (victory and peace) Cup
Runners-up (1): 1992

Asian competitions[edit]

Runners-up (1): 1971 (refused to play final against Maccabi Tel Aviv for political reasons)
Quarter-finals (1): 1999–00
Quarter-finals (1): 1997–98
Group Stage (2): 2004, 2005
First qualifying round (1): 2014
Group Stage (1): 2014

Arab competitions[edit]

  • Arab Police Championship Cup
Winners (3): 1976, 1978, 1985
  • Al-Quds International Championship
Winners (1): 2002
Winners (1): 1982
Group Stage (1): 2003
  • Algomhuria International Cup
Fourth Place (1): 2004

Worldwide competitions[edit]

  • President's Gold Cup
Winners (1): 1983
  • Saddam International Tournament
Group Stage (1): 1986

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Al Shorta website. "Al Shorta - History". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2013-10-23. 
  2. ^ "Al Shorta release new kits for AFC Cup". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  3. ^ Al Shorta website. "Al Shorta - Players and Staff". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  4. ^ Al Shorta website. "Al Shorta Sports City". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  5. ^ Refel Hashim, Hassanin Mubarak and Mohammed Qayed. "Iraq - List of Cup Winners". RSSSF. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  6. ^ IFFHS. "Asia's Club of the Century". IFFHS. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  7. ^ IFFHS. "Asia's Club of the 1st Decade of the 21st Century". IFFHS. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  8. ^ Mohd Fardan. "FIFA Ranking of the Best Clubs (Arabic)". Abu Nawaf. Retrieved 2002-09-19. 
  9. ^ Al Shorta website. "Al Shorta - History". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2013-10-23. 
  10. ^ Mubarak, Hassanin. "Al-Shurta – Coaches". RSSSF. Retrieved 2013-05-10. 

External links[edit]