Al-Karkh SC

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Al-Karkh SC
Al-Karkh SC (logo).png
Full name Al-Karkh Sports Club
Nickname(s) Canary or Al-Ghawassa Al-Safraa
Founded 1963; 53 years ago (1963)
1983; 33 years ago (1983), as Al-Rasheed Sports Club
Ground Al Karkh Stadium, Baghdad, Iraq
Ground Capacity 6,000
Owner Ministry of Education
President Sharar Haider
Manager Kareem Hussein
League Iraqi Premier League
2015–16 Iraqi Premier League, 16th
Website Club home page

Al-Karkh Sports Club (Arabic: نادي الكرخ الرياضي‎‎) is an Iraqi sports club based in Karkh, Baghdad. Its professional football team plays in the Iraqi Premier League, the top tier of the Iraqi football. The club's home stadium is Al Karkh Stadium.

Founded in 1963, Al-Karkh wasn't successful in achieving any trophies until Al-Rasheed Sports Club was formed, winning 3 league titles in the row, 2 FA Cups, 3 Arab Champions Cup titles, and the runners-up of the 1988–89 Asian Club Championship. In 1990, the club was merged with Al-Rasheed and named Al-Karkh Sports Club. Since then, Al-Karkh haven't been able to achieve a title.


In th late-1940s a basketball club was established under the name of Al-Mansour Club, where a lot of national basketball players started. The team won the 1958 Adhamiya Tournament with thousands of people either celebrating in the court or crowding outside of it. In the early-1960s, the club was dissolved and its administrative board was transferred to the new Al-Karkh Sports Club which is considered as Al-Mansour's spiritual successor.[1]

Since it was founded in 1963, Al-Karkh were unsuccessful to get promoted to the Iraqi Premier League. For 27 years, they had been languishing in the lower divisions.

Taking the Al Karkh Stadium as his club's, on 23 November 1983, Uday Hussein founded a new sports club named Al-Rasheed. The team was promoted to the Iraqi Premier League, after achieving the 2nd Division title in their first season to participate in it.[2] Al-Rasheed had most of the Iraq national team players that were brought to the team by Ammo Baba, the head coach of the national team at the time. The most popular of them were Ahmed Radhi, Adnan Dirjal, Samir Shaker, Haris Mohammed, Habib Jafar, and Laith Hussein.[3]

Squad of Al-Rasheed during the 1984–85 season, along with Uday and Qusay Hussein

Al-Rasheed dominated the Iraqi football from the club's foundation until its dissolving. In their first season in the Iraqi Premier League, the 1984–85 season, Al-Rasheed were in 1st place, at 41 points, but because of the league being abandoned, no champions were announced.[4] After the abandonment of the league, Al-Rasheed set up the Al-Rasheed Cup which contained twelve of the fourteen Iraqi League teams as well as four lower division teams. Al-Rasheed won this tournament by beating Al-Zawra'a in the final. They participated in the 1985 Asian Club Championship but were knocked out in round 2 of the qualifiers. They finished 2nd in the 1985–86 Iraqi League,[5] but won the 1986 Saddam International Tournament which contained teams from all around the world including Iraq, Brazil, Kenya, Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait.[6] Being managed by Ammo Baba, they achieved the league in the 1986–87 season,[7] along with the Iraq FA Cup, after beating Al-Jaish.[8] In the 1987 Asian Club Championship they were knocked out in the final group stage. Another double success came under the management of Jamal Salih in the 1987–88 season.[8][9] In the 1988–89 season, Al-Rasheed achieved the league to be their last achievement as Al-Rasheed and the last one for Al-Karkh.[10] Al-Rasheed became the first team to win the Iraqi Premier League three times in the row since it started in 1974.[11]

Al-Rasheed also achieved the Arab Champions Cup three times in the row; defeating USM El Harrach in 1985 in Al-Shaab Stadium,[12] ES Tunis in 1986 in Stade El Menzah,[13] and beating Al-Ittihad in the final of 1987 in Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium.[14] Al-Rasheed also finished third in the 1989 Arab Cup Winners' Cup. Al-Rasheed's biggest achievement is that they reached the 2nd place of the 1988–89 Asian Club Championship, after losing by the away goal rule to Al Sadd.[15] They were the first Iraqi team to reach the final of Asia's main club competition since Al Shorta SC in 1971. In the next edition of the Asian Club Championship in 1989–90, Al-Rasheed were very close to reaching the final again.

On 18 August 1990, the Iraqi Olympic Committee decided to dissolve Al-Rasheed Sports Club and transfer all of its properties to Al-Karkh Sports Club and replacing Al-Rasheed with Al-Karkh in the Iraqi Premier League.[16] Therefore, every single trophy of Al-Karkh was achieved during the time of Al-Rasheed SC.

When Al-Karkh replaced Al-Rasheed's place in the Iraqi Premier League, the team and for the first time in their history, played in the top tier of Iraqi football. Most of the Iraq national team players left, retiring, like Adnan Dirjal, Haris Mohammed, and Samir Shaker, or transferring to other teams, like Ahmed Radhi, Laith Hussein, and Habib Jafar. In their first season in the senior division, 1990–91, they finished in 4th place at 38 points.[17]

Being coached by Adnan Dirjal, Al-Karkh, on Dirjal's first season as a coach, finished in the furthest place they have ever been in the league, which is 3rd place in the 1991–92 season, three points away from the leaders. Dirjal received the best Iraqi coach award for the team's performance through the season, while Saad Qais Noaman received the best player award. Al-Karkh also finished in 4th place in the 1991 Umm Al-Ma'arik Cup.[18]

In the seasons of 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95 and 1995–96, Al-Karkh managed to keep an average of 9th place in the league, where Ammo Baba, in the 1994–95 season, made the team reach the lowest he had ever reached with an Iraqi team through his entire managing career, which was 7th place.[19] The Iraq FA Cup editions from 1992 to 1996 didn't witness Al-Karkh succeeding in passing the round of 16,[8] while in the Umm Al Ma'arik Cup, Al-Karkh reached 4th place in 1993.

In 1996, they participated in the 102nd edition of the IFA Shield, a competition in India. They finished as runners-up, losing 1–0 after extra time to JCT Mills. In the 1996–97 season, Al-Karkh finished in the relegation zone's 14th place at 27 points from 30 matches. The team was relegated to the Iraq Division One for the first time since they have replaced Al-Rasheed in 1990.[20] They were promoted back to the Iraqi Premier League in the 1997–98 season.[21] They maintained an average of 7th place throughout the five seasons after promotion. In the 1999–00 Iraq FA Cup, Al-Karkh reached the semifinals after beating Al-Talaba, Samarra FC, and beating Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 1–0 in the first leg but they were beaten via a penalty shootout after the match ended in a 0–1 loss for Al-Karkh. The team also reached the semifinals in the 1999 Umm Al-Ma'arik Cup, where they were beaten by Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya. They won the third place match.[22] A season after, Al-Karkh achieved the Umm Al-Ma'arik 3rd place again.[23]

In the 2003–04 season, after Sharar Haider was appointed as the new president of the club, Al-Karkh didn't qualify for the second phase while in the season after, the team only qualified to the second phase.[24] In the 2005–06 season, Al-Karkh finished in the relegation zone with 12 points out of 12 matches, one point away from Diyala FC that had 13 points, being relegated for the second time to the Iraq Division One.[25] The team stayed in the Division One until the 2009–10 season, where they were among the six clubs that were elected to play the last two Iraqi Premier League places playoff. Under the management of Nasrat Nassir,[26] Al-Karkh won promotion and returned to the Premier League.[27] After two seasons, Al-Karkh was relegated again before returning once again to the Premier League after winning Division One in the 2012–13 season.[28]


Al Karkh Stadium at night in 2014

At first, Al-Mansour club took an old building that oversees the Tigris in Al-Karkh and turned it into a basketball court and a place to manage the club. In the late-1960s, the building started to collapse which was the main reason for the club being banished. In 1963, a new club with the same administrative board was formed in Mansour neighbourhood, Mansour district, Karkh after Al Karkh Stadium was built.[1]

In 1984, Al-Rasheed took over the stadium and turned it into theirs after renovating it and allowing shops to be opened around it. In the dissolving of Al-Rasheed, the stadium returned to its old name as the stadium of Al-Karkh SC.[16] The stadium's latest renovations were in 2004 along with most of the sports facilities after it was damaged by the U.S. Air Force in the Battle of Baghdad (2003).


Recent seasons[edit]

The season-by-season performance of the club over the recent years:[11]

Season League Rank P W D L F A GD Pts Cup
2000–01 Iraqi Elite League 7 30 14 8 8 48 33 15 50
2001–02 Iraqi Elite League 8 38 15 9 14 52 42 10 54 QF
2002–03 Iraqi First Division League 8 19 6 8 5 23 15 8 26 3R
2003–04 Iraqi Premier League(1) 3 – Group 2 8 4 1 3 12 11 1 13
2004–05 Iraqi Premier League 3 – Group 2 19 8 4 7 20 14 6 28
2005–06 Iraqi Premier League 6 – Group 3 12 3 3 6 9 14 −5 12
2006–07 Iraq Division One
2007–08 Iraq Division One
2008–09 Iraq Division One 1 – Promotion Round 5 4 1 0 7 2 5 13
2009–10 Iraqi Premier League 11 – Group B 34 9 14 10 31 35 −4 41
2010–11 Iraqi Premier League 5 – Group A 26 10 11 5 35 27 8 41
2011–12 Iraqi Premier League 17 38 8 10 20 32 49 −17 34
2012–13 Iraq Division One 1 16 9 6 1 30 15 15 33 3R(2)
2013–14 Iraqi Premier League 12 22 7 4 11 20 25 −5 25
2014–15 Iraqi Premier League 5 – Group 1 18 7 5 6 20 18 2 26

As of 4 May 2015.[29] Rank = Rank in the league; P = Played; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points; Cup = Iraq FA Cup.
in = Still in competition; — = Not attended; 1R = 1st round; 2R = 2nd round; 3R = 3rd round; R16 = Round of sixteen; QF = Quarterfinals; SF = Semifinals.

1 This Iraqi Premier League season was not completed.
2 Al-Karkh were knocked out in the third round of the 2012–13 Iraq FA Cup, but the tournament ended up being abandoned later on.

In Asia[edit]

As of 26 July 1990:

Competition Record
G W D L Win %
Asian Club Championship 25 16 5 4 64.00
Total 25 16 5 4 64.00


Current squad[edit]

As of 17 December 2015[30]

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 Sarmad Rasheed
3 Iraq DF Ahmed Khalid
4 Iraq DF Ali Abid Ali (captain)
5 Iraq DF Nozad Abdul Hameed
7 Iraq MF Nameer Hameed
8 Iraq FW Hussam Ibrahim
9 Iraq MF Ahmad Abdul-Jabar
10 Iraq MF Sahil Naeem
11 Iraq FW Ahmed Shirshab
12 Iraq GK Mohammed Saleh
14 Iraq DF Hussein Shanshoul
17 Togo FW Backer Aloenouvo
18 Iraq FW Mustafa Kareem
No. Position Player
19 Iraq DF Yasser Mahir
20 Iraq GK Wisam Adil
22 Iraq MF Haider Jabbar
23 Iraq FW Ali Rasheed (on loan from Al-Talaba)
26 Syria MF Mohammed Faris
27 Iraq DF Mohammed Saeed
28 Iraq DF Sajjad Hussein
29 Iraq MF Mohammed Saad
33 Iraq MF Rafid Moayad
35 Iraq MF Samir Majid
37 Togo DF Papa Koami (on loan from Al Shorta SC)
Iraq FW Hussein Salih
Iraq FW Saad Fawzi


Current technical staff[edit]

Position Staff
Head coach Kareem Hussein
Assistant manager Haider Mohammed
Assistant manager Hussam Fawzi
Goalkeeping coach Hussein Kamel
Club doctor Basim Rasan

Notable managers[edit]

Board members[edit]

Office Name
President Sharar Haider
Vice-president Laith Kahalil Abdul-Razzaq
Members of the administrative board Abdul Kareem Hammadi
Kamil Mughamis Al-Baidhani
Haider Ali Lazim
Abdul Majeed Rasheed
Talib Munshid





Other sports[edit]


  • Iraqi Division I Basketball League:
    • Champions (13): 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2015–16 (as Al-Karkh)
    • Champions (3): 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87 (as Al-Rasheed)


  1. ^ a b Zaidan, Ahmed (May 12, 2013). "Al-Karkh, its stars that enlightened the way for the coming generations in sports and its role in supplying Iraqi sports with high quality players". Al-Gardenia (in Arabic). 
  2. ^ Ali, Muhammed; Mubarak, Hassanin; Kabash, Yaseen (May 20, 2002). "Iraq 1983/84". RSSSF. 
  3. ^ "Pages from the Past – Al-Rasheed SC – 4th Issue". Kooora Formus (in Arabic). June 27, 2011. 
  4. ^ Moon, P.; Burns, P. (1986). Asia-Oceania Soccer Yearbook 1986–87. 
  5. ^ Ali, Muhammad (November 7, 2008). "Iraq 1985/86". RSSSF. 
  6. ^ Hashim, Refel; Mubarak, Hassanin (May 21, 2015). "Saddam International Tournament (Baghdad) 1986". RSSSF. 
  7. ^ Hashim, Refel; Mubarak, Hassanin (December 1, 2006). "Iraq 1986/87". RSSSF. 
  8. ^ a b c Hashim, Refel; Qayed, Mohammed; Mubarak, Hassanin (December 20, 2007). "Iraq – List of Cup Winners". RSSSF. 
  9. ^ Hashim, Refel (May 19, 2002). "Iraq 1987/88". RSSSF. 
  10. ^ Hashim, Refel (May 19, 2002). "Iraq 1988/89". RSSSF. 
  11. ^ a b Fujioka, Atsushi (July 16, 2015). "Iraq – List of Champions". RSSSF. 
  12. ^ Garin, Erik (February 13, 2002). "3rd Arab Club Champions Cup 1985". RSSSF. 
  13. ^ Garin, Erik (February 13, 2002). "4th Arab Club Champions Cup 1986". RSSSF. 
  14. ^ Garin, Erik (January 13, 2011). "5th Arab Club Champions Cup 1987". RSSSF. 
  15. ^ Oliver, G. (1995). The Guinness Book of World Soccer (2 ed.). 
  16. ^ a b Al-Athari, Munthir. "Al-Karkh and Al-Rasheed, again". Al-Batal (in Arabic). 
  17. ^ Hashim, Refel (January 3, 2008). "Iraq 1990/91". RSSSF. 
  18. ^ Hashim, Refel; Mubarak, Hassanin (April 2, 2006). "Iraq 1991/92". RSSSF. 
  19. ^ Hashim, Refel (August 20, 2002). "Iraq 1994/95". RSSSF. 
  20. ^ Qayed, Mohammed (June 19, 2003). "Iraq 1996/97". RSSSF. 
  21. ^ Qayed, Mohammed (August 30, 2002). "Iraq 1997/98". RSSSF. 
  22. ^ Hashim, Refel; Schöggl, Hans; Qayed, Mohammed; Mubarak, Hassanin (May 8, 2008). "Iraq 1999/2000". RSSSF. 
  23. ^ Mubarak, Hassanin (October 17, 2006). "Iraq 2001/02". RSSSF. 
  24. ^ Hashim, Refel; Mubarak, Hassanin (November 15, 2005). "Iraq 2004/05". RSSSF. 
  25. ^ Hashim, Refel; Mubarak, Hassanin (November 8, 2006). "Iraq 2005/06". RSSSF. 
  26. ^ "In Al-Karkh SC, continues work to return to the crowning stages". Al-Ittihad (in Arabic). 
  27. ^ Mubarak, Hassanin (January 17, 2013). "Iraq 2009/10". RSSSF. 
  28. ^ "Iraqi First Division League 2012–2013". Goalzz. 
  29. ^ Stokkermans, Karel (October 15, 2015). "Iraq 2014/15". RSSSF. 
  30. ^ Al-Zubeidi, Al-Zawra'ai (17 December 2015). "Names of Al-Karkh's players". Al-Karkh Sports Club (in Arabic). Kooora Formus (10). 

External links[edit]