Al-Ahli Dubai F.C.
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|Full name||Al Ahli Football Club|
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
|Owner||Hamdan Al Maktoum|
|2015–16||UAE Pro-League, 1st|
|Website||Club home page|
Al Ahli Club (Arabic: النادي الأهلي) is a United Arab Emirates professional association football club based in Dubai, that currently play in the UAE Arabian Gulf League. Considered to be one of the strongest clubs from UAE. The club is abbreviated as A.C.
Al Ahli is one of the most successful clubs in the UAE. Al Ahli, literally translating to "domestic or national" in Arabic, was established in 1970, when three local teams joined together to form the club. The club won three UAE Arabian Gulf League titles in the 1970s and won its fourth in 2006, fifth in 2009 and sixth in 2014 and seventh in 2016.
A club with a strong and rich history, Al Ahli has won 7 league titles, a record 8 UAE's President Cup titles, 3 UAE super Cup titles and 2 UAE League Cup titles, earning a total of 20 domestic titles, making them the second most successful team in UAE. In the ranking by IFFHS, Al Ahli is the 7th best Asian club and ranked 102 in the world.
- 1 History
- 2 Crest and Nickname
- 3 Grounds
- 4 Rivalries
- 5 Active Departments of Al Ahli
- 6 Relationship with Spanish La Liga
- 7 Players
- 8 Managerial history
- 9 Al Ahli Club Board Directors
- 10 Al Ahli Football Company
- 11 Honours
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The club was established in 1970, when two local football teams Al Wehdah and Al Shabab (est. 1958) joined together for a training camp in Egypt but decided to merge as one single club under first club president H.E. Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah. Four years later another local team Al Najah joined to form Al Ahli Club.
1973–1980: The golden age and aftermath decline
It took Al Ahli only four years after its establishment to win the UAE Arabian Gulf League twice consecutively in 1974-75 and 1975-76 then again in 1979-80 for the third time, which allowed them to permanently keep the league trophy. The victorious team, led by coach Mohammed Shehta and featuring players such as Hassan Nazari and Hassan Roshan. The team also won three President Cup titles during that period. Drawing home-town fans, Al Ahli has been and continues to be one of the most popular sports teams in the UAE. However,the club went into decline for few decades, the result of which saw the club relegated to the second division (1995–96) in a dramatic way, when Al Ahli played against neighbour rival Al Shabab, Al Ahli needed just one point from the match to stay in the first division. Al Ahli has lost the match and Al Shabab has won the league title. The same year, Al Ahli won the President Cup title. After a period of decline, Al Ahli went back on top under new leadership of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, winning its fourth league title in 2006 and in the following years, Al Ahli continued to be a successful club in the UAE by winning 6 President Cups.
Recent Success (2010-present)
The club began to rise up again and in 2010, the squad was gradually re-built, with the likes of Fabio Carnavaro and Grafite joined the Emirati homegrown talents Ahmed Khalil and Ismael Al Hammadi. In 2012, Al Ahli won the UAE President's Cup and the Arabian Gulf Cup. The arrival of the Romanian football manager Cosmin Olaroiu in 2013, set the stage to a highly successful 2013-14 season. Al Ahli performed strongly in the league and assured its 6th title with a record for the highest ever points total for a league season (62). In addition, the club won the Arabian Gulf Cup, 2 Arabian Gulf Super Cups (2013–14, 2014–15) and in the following year they reached 2015 AFC Champions League Final which they narrowly lost to Chinese team Guangzhou Evergrande. Al Ahli homegrown forward Ahmed Khalil named the UAE's sole recipient of the prestigious Asian Footballer of the Year award in 2015. In 2016, they again won their 7th domestic league title with two matches to play.
2009 FIFA Club World Cup
Al-Ahli, as 2008–09 UAE Pro-League champions and as Abu Dhabi was hosting the event, qualified for the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup which was held in December 2009. They lost 0–2 to Auckland City in their only game in the competition.
Crest and Nickname
The original Al Ahli logo reflected a falcon on top of football and the words "Al Ahli Club" written horizontally. After rebranding themselves to Red Knights in 2006, the logo changed to a horse head shape with the letters A C (Al Ahli Club) on top. The new logo represents strength and high spirits also it goes along with the new nickname Red Knights instead of the old nickname the Red Devils.
Rashid Stadium also known as Al Ahli Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates was named after Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It is currently used mostly for football & Rugby matches. The stadium holds 9,415 people. It was built in 1948. It is the home ground of Al-Ahli Dubai.
Al Ahli's longest-established rivalry is with Dubai-based neighbour Al Shabab, often called the Deira derby because of both clubs location in Deira side of Dubai. Al Ahli rivalry with Al Ain FC is gaining popularity as the two clubs alternated as champions in the 70s and more post 2010, and currently both teams are considered among the top teams in the UAE, both clubs meet in the widely anticipated often called the UAE Clasico. The match usually creates a lively atmosphere but on few occasions led to problems like throwing shoes and bottles of water onto the pitch. In one incident the match was halted after the referee's assistant was hit by mobile phone thrown by a seething Ahli fan.
Active Departments of Al Ahli
The club is also known as Al Ahli Castle because of its involvement in other professional sports. The club competes in basketball, volleyball, handball, track sport, table tennis and track cycling. Al Ahli is also known for its involvement in cultural activities and community services. Al Ahli Drama club established in 1981, to promote Emirati arts and theatrical plays focusing on UAE tradition, heritage and current events.
Relationship with Spanish La Liga
In 2016 Al Ahli became the first foreign club to sign a partnership agreement with La Liga that is the first of its kind for both the renowned professional Spanish league and the Arabian Gulf League's leaders. The signing of the agreement, which was staged at La Liga's headquarters, marks the beginning of a linkup in which La Liga's experience will be used to support Dubai's leading club in its development especially a training program from youth coaches in Spain will be applied. The club's junior sides will gain invitations to leading tournaments there, providing the opportunity to gain valuable experience playing top-class opposition.
As of UAE Arabian Gulf League:
- Mohammed Shehta
- Željko Markov
- Nándor Hidegkuti (1983–85)
- Mansour Pourheidari (1985–93)
- Egon Coordes (1993–94)
- Celso Roth (1994)
- Mohamed Abul Ezz (1995–97)
- Ljupko Petrović (1998–99)
- Srećko Juričić (2002–03)
- Ilie Balaci (2003–05)
- Winfried Schäfer (March 6, 2005 – Feb 19, 2007)
- Alain Michel (2006–07)
- Yousef Zawawi (2007)
- Ivan Hašek (July 1, 2007–09)
- Ioan Andone (June 8, 2009 – Nov 2, 2009)
- Noureddine Abidi (2009–10)
- Henk Ten Cate (Feb 6, 2010 – March 11, 2010)
- David O'Leary (July 4, 2010 – April 22, 2011)
- Ivan Hašek (June 26, 2011 – Nov 8, 2011)
- Quique Flores (Nov 8, 2011 – June 11, 2013)
- Cosmin Olăroiu (July 7, 2013– )
Al Ahli Club Board Directors
- Abdulla Saeed Al Naboodah – Chairman
- Hammed Abdullah – Deputy Chairman
- Ahmad Khalifa Hammad – CEO
- Mohammed Abdulrahman Al Banna
- Osama Qarqash
- Adel Zarooni
- Mohammed Al Hamadi
- Ahmad Al Kamali
- Obaid Saeed Obaid
Al Ahli Football Company
- Abdulla Saeed Al Naboodah – Chairman
- Sayef Bin Mrkhan – Deputy Chairman
- Ahmad Khalifa Hammad – CEO
- Tareq Ahmed Baqer
- Mohammed Mattar Ghareb
- Mansoor Lootah
21 Official Championships
- Winners: (4) 2009, 2013, 2014, 2016
- Runner-up: (1) 2015.
- Emirati-Moroccan Friendship Super Cup
- Winners (1): 2016
- "Al Ahli Sports Club". www.alahliclub.ae. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
- "Al Ahli 0 – 2 Auckland City". ESPN. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- "Al Ahli football club sign ground-breaking agreement with Spain's La Liga through 2018 | The National". www.thenational.ae. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
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