Al-Ettifaq Football Club (Arabic: نادي الاتفاق لكرة القدم, romanizednādī al-ittifāq likura al-qadami) is a professional football club in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. It was established by the merger of three Dammam-based clubs in 1945. Al-Ettifaq were the first Saudi team to win an international title – the 1984 Arab Club Champions Cup. They were also the first to win the Saudi Premier League without any defeats, and the first Saudi team to win the GCC Champions League. Al-Ettifaq have a total of 13 titles to their name. The club also has its own futsal section.

Full nameAl-Ettifaq Football Club
Nickname(s)Faris Ad-Dahna (The Knight of Ad-Dahna)
The Commandos
Founded1945; 79 years ago (1945)
GroundAl-Ettifaq Club Stadium
Dammam, Saudi Arabia
OwnerMinistry of Sports of Saudi Arabia
ChairmanSamer Al-Misehal
ManagerSteven Gerrard
LeaguePro League
2023–24Pro League, 6th of 18
WebsiteClub website
Current season

History edit

Humble beginning (1941-1953) edit

Before the establishment of Al-Ettifaq as a professional sports club that also managed football, there were three clubs in the city of Dammam that were founded in 1941. Al-Taawoun (different from Al-Taawoun from Buraydah city), Al-Sha'ab and Al-Shabab. These clubs began practising their own sporting activities and gathering the people across the region; however, these clubs are hardly gaining any revenue for the sport activity to continue.

4 years later in 1945, the presidents of the club and its staff met in Faris Al-Hamid's house, the ministry of sport at the time. They discuss the solution for their problem, the result of this meeting are to merge all three clubs in Dammam into one single unified club. The ministry will fund the newly merged club and get its share of ownership. Al-Hamid also suggested at the time to name the new club as "Al-Ettifaq" (الاتفاق al-ittifāq), which meant "the agreement" in Arabic.

The club original color will also change, the new colors would be green and white, which eventually changed into green and red afterwards.[2] Sometimes later Mohammed Hassan Khairi from Sudan become the new club manager. In the early years of the club, the energetic and ambitious coach from Africa start to reform the sport club from Dammam

First King Cup and Crown Prince Cup (1954-1971) edit

Al-Ettifaq saw some success in the domestic championship of the 1960s. One of his most decisive decision are to signed the most prolific Ettifaqi player Khalil Al-Zayani. In 1962, the senior team new player wingback/centerback (defence) are just 15 years old boy barely graduating from youth team Academy. The young Zayani have to adjust between his education and professional football career. At the time nationwide football league are not yet implemented and regional league and tournament occasionally held. Nevertheless, the manager intuition to entrust club defense role to the young boy prove correct, when the club for the first time managed to overcome their adversities and reach the final in 1963 Crown Prince Cup.

Al-Ettifaq face their final opponent in the national tournament, Al-Ittihad in their home ground (Jeddah). Loud cheers echoes from the opposing supporters after Al-Ettifaq defeated 6–2. The club run for 1963 King Cup is less successful from their Crown Prince Run. 1963-1964 Saudi Season end with Al-Ittihad securing their double title again after defeating their rival Al-Hilal.

The young boy talent are tested once again in 1964-1965 Saudi football season, when barely 16 years old defender are selected by Khairi as the captain squad. The manager recognize his vision prowess in the field and charisma. Khairi encourage the squad to aim high for the new record, he wanted for his coached player to raise occasional Regional League cup, King Cup and Crown Prince Cup at the same time or as we know as "treble".

The now fully matured 17 years old Defender captain walk his first step to become nation football champion, when he secured his club back at the final match Crown Prince Cup against Al-Ittihad at the same pitch. The deafening voice of Ittihad supporter become silence as his club taking revenge for the crushing defeat almost 3 years earlier. The sport club from Dammam lift their first ever trophy with triumph. However Ettifaq failed to win the King Cup on that season in which Al-Ahli from the same city as Al-Ittihad went victorious.

In 1964-1965 Saudi Season even though Ettifaq won a national trophy, they fall short to achieve their treble goal. Meanwhile, for the young Zayani, around this time he is scouted to be part of Saudi National Team. Some of Ettifaq player also constitute part of the Eastern Team who compete under Crown Prince Cup new regulation and they managed to reach final in 1966-1967 Saudi Season.

On 1966 King Cup, in the final Al Ettifaq defeated by Al-Wehda and in 1967 King Cup, tasted defeat again by Al-Ittihad. For the third times in a row reaching final, Al-Ettifaq finally raise their first ever King Cup after defeating the defending champion in previous tournament. On the next seasons however, Al-Ettifaq defeated by new challenger and Al-Ahli become the winner of King Cup in that season. Hassan Khairi retired from the club activity after coaching Ettifaqi player for over 1 decade.

Al-Zayani keep playing as the club player until 1971 and retired from Saudi National Team in 1973, completely retiring from football the age of just 26 years old. In his career he managed to reach 5 finals in different competition and win 2 trophies for his club. Khalil Al-Zayani played his entire club career for Al-Ettifaq.

Champion from Dammam (1972-1989) edit

Sharp decline in 1970s edit

After Khairi and Zayani departure, Al-Ettifaq never the reach the final of national tournament. Slowly the condition inside the club become worrisome, Saudi Ministry of Sport then offer the 29 years old retired ex-player, to coach the club and also prepare the club for implementation of planned national league. Al-Ettifaq would be main representation from the city of Dammam.

Zayani agree to step up and took managerial role. At this time nationwide league are newly established with 8 clubs registered. Al-Ettifaq only eligible to play in second-tier of the Saudi League, First Division League and only able to make into 2nd place just behind Al-Nahda. The winner and runner-up at that time are promoted into Saudi Premier League.

Al-Ettifaq are promoted in the second edition of the league in 1977-1978 Saudi Premier League. In their first run in highest tier of league national, Al-Ettifaq finish 3rd place behind Al-Nassr in 2nd place and Al-Hilal as league champion. In the 1978–1979, Al Ettifaq finish in 6th position, 1979-1980 they finish again the same position and in 1981-1982 Ettifaqi finish in 5th position. In this period the club never won any singgle competition for over a decade except for getting promotion into Saudi Premier League.

Regardless of the setbacks, Zayani still confident to continue his predecessor ambition to secure the treble for club. The former defender began to implemented new tactics and shaping new core player, once the majority squad from 1970s started to retiring. His new winning strategy are applied by promising academy players promoted from the youth teams.

Saudi Premier league and Gulf Club Cup Championship edit

The club new youth players catch the attention of the nation when 1982–83 Saudi Premier League began on 16 December 1982. Some of the most recognized forwards such as Jamal Mohammad and Omar Bakhashwain made their debut in this season. Al-Ettifaq are undefeated in their run by the end of season in April 1983. First Saudi football club to ever do so. The club had nine wins and eight draws with a match left to conclude the season. Going into the final matchday, Al-Hilal were leading the table with 1 point ahead of Al-Ettifaq.

The two teams would face their city rivals in the final matchday on separate days. On 7 April 1983, Al-Ettifaq defeated Al-Nahda 2–0. This meant that Al-Hilal needed just a draw against Al-Nassr to secure the title, as they were ahead of Al-Ettifaq on goal difference as well. On 8 April 1983, Al-Nassr defeated Al-Hilal 2–1 to hand Al-Ettifaq their first league title. Al-Ettifaq also became the first team from Dammam to win the title. Khalil Al-Zayani also became the first Saudi Arabian manager to win the league title and Jamal Muhammad managed to reach 3rd position in top scorer table behind Khalid Al-Ma'ajil in 2nd place and Majeed Abdullah as the league golden boot winner.

After winning the league, city of Dammam that are located in Saudi East Coastline are invited in the 2nd edition Gulf Club competition by Arabian Gulf countries. Al-Ettifaq are among the 12 team that listed in the competition. The last decisive match will be played by the club that reach the 1st position in tha chart table which is Al-Ettifaq and Al-Arabi from Kuwait. Ettifaqi defeat their opponent in foreign soil of Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar, gaining the honour for the first Saudi team to win non-domestic title and their first regional title.

Temporary replacement of Zayani edit

Kuwait victory against all odds in 1980 Asian Cup bring the wind of change in the national team. Saudi targeted the next Asian Cup and 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, subsequently Al-Zayani who coach Al-Ettifaq are the most suitable candidate to managed the country strategy. Zayani temporarily left the club in March 1984, immediately replacing Mario Zagallo one of Pele teammates in the ongoing 7th Arabian Gulf Cup tournament after the former Brazilian forward defeated by Iraq 4–0.

In Zayani absence Chico Formiga was brought in from Santos FC as a replacement and preparing the squad for 1984 Arab Club Champions Cup, it is held in 1984 because in the previous year the championship are postponed for technical reason. Al-Ettifaq are pitted by 3 other team in one group stage which are: Kenitra AC from Morocco winner of Botola Pro, West Riffa from Bahrain winner of Bahraini Premier League and Al-Ansar FC from Lebanon. Al-Etiffaq barely beat Kenitra by just 1 point difference after defeating Al-Ansar in their homebase and prevail to achieve their first treble, by securing 1 domestic title and 2 regional title.

In the next season, Chico plan to achieve his first domestic title. On the start of 1985 King Cup, Al-Hilal are the defending champion, Al-Ettifaq face Al-Shabab at the round of 16 with the result of 1–0. In the next round they defeated Abha FC 2–0, the club went draw against Al-Ahli 1–1 in which Ettifaq defeat Ahli at the penalty shootout 4–5. Al-Ettifaq face the defending champion in their homebase at Riyadh. Abo Haidar are the first to score while Al-Nayfawy equalize, until the extra time end the score is still 1-1. Bakhashwain and Al-Dughaim scored the decisive penalty goal and went victorious with 4–3, Al-Ettifaq won their second king cup title.

Double regional title edit

Chico managed the club in 1986-1987 Saudi Premier League until halfway of season. The former prolific center back of Palmeiras are replaced by Al-Zayani to coach Al-Ettifaq for the second time. Winning the 1986–87 Saudi Premier League once again in his first season back, and the 1988 Arab Club Champions Cup together with the 1988 Gulf Club Champions Cup in his second season.

1989 AFC Champions League edit

Al-Ettifaq qualified for the 1989 AFC Champions League after winning 1988 Gulf Club Champions Cup. In their first campaign Al-Ettifaq reached the semi-final . On 11 October 1988 Al-Ettifaq managed to defend their first position after equalizing their score and against April 25 from North Korea 1-1. In the next match of 13 October 1988 however, they are eliminated after they fall in 2nd position after defeated by Al-Sadd SC from Qatar 2–1, the eventual champion of that year.

Honours edit

Current squad edit

As of 7 September 2023.[3][4]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   KSA Abdullah Al-Oaisher
3 DF   KSA Mohammed Al-Dossari
4 DF   SCO Jack Hendry
9 FW   FRA Moussa Dembélé
11 MF   KSA Ali Hazazi
13 DF   KSA Hamdan Al-Shamrani
14 MF   ESP Álvaro Medrán
17 DF   KSA Meshal Al-Alaeli
19 FW   JAM Demarai Gray
20 FW   KSA Thamer Al-Khaibari
22 GK   KSA Bilal Al-Dawaa
23 FW   KSA Jaber Qarradi
25 MF   NED Georginio Wijnaldum (captain)
26 MF   KSA Abdulmohsen Al-Dossari
29 DF   KSA Mohammed Abdulrahman
30 FW   KSA Muhannad Al Saad
No. Pos. Nation Player
33 DF   KSA Maithem Al-Eisa
35 DF   KSA Abdullah Khalifah
36 MF   KSA Faris Al-Ghamdi
41 MF   KSA Majed Dawran
42 MF   KSA Hassan Al-Musallam
48 GK   BRA Paulo Victor
49 DF   KSA Abdulrahman Oumar
61 DF   KSA Radhi Al-Otaibi
70 DF   KSA Abdullah Al-Khateeb
77 MF   KSA Khalid Al-Ghannam
92 GK   KSA Turki Baljoush
97 FW   CMR Karl Toko Ekambi
99 FW   SWE Robin Quaison
MF   KSA Salem Al-Maqadi
MF   KSA Nawaf Hazazi

Unregistered players edit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
6 MF   TUR Berat Özdemir
27 FW   BRA Vitinho
No. Pos. Nation Player
32 DF   COD Marcel Tisserand
99 FW   SWE Robin Quaison

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. Pos. Nation Player
8 MF   KSA Hamed Al-Ghamdi (on loan to Al-Ittihad)
No. Pos. Nation Player
18 MF   KSA Mohammed Mahzari (on loan to Al-Taawoun)

Management staff edit

Position Name
Manager   Steven Gerrard
Assistant Manager   Dean Holden
First Team Coach   Darren Davies
  Tarik Makhnass
Technical Coach   Tom Culshaw
Goalkeeping Coach   Artur Guedes
Analyst   Ray Shearwood
Fitness Coach   Jordan Milsom
Doctor   Basil Ribeiro
Sporting Director   Mark Allen
Head of Scouting   Thomas Spring

Managerial history edit

Note: The table is currently being updated.

19??–69   Mohammed Hassan Kheiri
1974–76  Ted Copeland
1976–78   Khalil Al-Zayani
1980–84   Khalil Al-Zayani Won the 1982–83 Saudi Premier League and the 1983 Gulf Club Champions Cup
1984–86   Chico Formiga Won the 1984 Arab Club Champions Cup and the 1985 King Cup
1986–90   Khalil Al-Zayani Won 3 titles
1990–91   Procópio Cardoso
July 1, 1993 – June 30, 1995   Wojciech Łazarek
1994–96   Khalil Al-Zayani
1997   João Francisco
1999–00   Khalil Al-Zayani
2003–04   Jan Versleijen
Jan 1, 2004 – May 30, 2004   Jorge Habegger
2005–06   Ednaldo Patricio
2006–07   Ammar Al-Suwayeh 2006 Gulf Club Champions Cup (winner)
July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008   Toni 2007 Gulf Club Champions Cup (runner-up)
Jan 8, 2009 – June 8, 2009   Ioan Andone Achieved club's best performance in the AFC Champions League (round of 16)
Oct 23, 2009 – March 23, 2011   Ion Marin
March 23, 2011 – June 30, 2011   Youssef Zouaoui
July 22, 2011 – April 30, 2012   Branko Ivanković
2012   Ammar Al-Suwayeh
July 1, 2012 – Sept 25, 2012   Alain Geiger
Sept 26, 2012 – June 13, 2013   Maciej Skorża
July 1, 2013 – Oct 1, 2013   Theo Bücker
Sept 30, 2013 – Oct 26, 2013   Eusebiu Tudor
Oct 26, 2013 – Feb 13, 2014   Goran Tufegdžić
Feb 13, 2014–July, 2014   Ioan Andone
July 2014 – Feb 17, 2015   Beñat San José
(2015)   Gheorghe Mulțescu
(2015–16)   Reinhard Stumpf
(2016)   Djamel Belkacem 2015–16 Saudi First Division
(2016)   Eelco Schattorie
(2016–2017)   Juan Carlos Garrido
(2017)   Miodrag Ješić
(2017–2018)   Saad Al-Shehri
(2018)   Leonardo Ramos
(2018–2019)   Sergio Piernas
(2019)   Hélder
(2019–2021)   Khaled Al-Atwi
(2021–2022)   Vladan Milojevic
(2022–2023)   Patrice Carteron
(2023)   Antonio Cazorla
(2023– )   Steven Gerrard

Performance in AFC competitions edit

  • Asian Club Championship: 1 appearance
  • AFC Champions League: 2 appearances
    • AFC Champions League 2009:
      • Group Stage – Round of 32: Al Ettifaq was arguably one of the best performers in the group stage after finishing top of the group with 12 points. They won 4 games, lost 2, and scored 15 goals in 6 games, recording the third best attacking stats in the continent in that round. Al Ettifaq were placed in Group D along FC Bunyodkor (led by Brazilian ace Rivaldo), Sepahan Isfahan, and Al Shabab (UAE).
      • Round of 16: Al Ettifaq were knocked from the Round of 16 against Pakhtakor (UZB). After leading 1–0 at halftime, they conceded two late goals that ended their hopes in qualifying to the quarter-final.[6]
    • AFC Champions League 2012:
  • AFC Cup: 1 appearance
    • AFC Cup 2012:
      • After failing to qualify to the group stage of the 2012 AFC Champions League, Al-Ettifaq qualified automatically to the 2012 AFC Cup, and were drawn in Group C with Kuwait SC of Kuwait, Al Ahed of Lebanon, and VB Sports Club of the Maldives.
      • Al Ettifaq started the competition as favorites and a strong candidate to win the competition, winning 5–1 in their first group game against Kuwait SC in Kuwait. The second game was frustrating to the Saudis as they drew in their own stadium 0–0 with Al Ahed. They defeated the underdogs of the group VB Sports Club by 6–3 in the Maldives and 2–0 in the reverse fixture. Al Ettifaq sealed their promotion with a 2–2 draw against Kuwait SC before finishing the group with a 3–1 victory in Lebanon against Al Ahed.
      • Al Ettifaq finished off their season with a hard-fought 1–0 victory against Omani side Al-Suwaiq SC in the Round of 16 to progress to the quarter-finals of the tournament.

International competitions edit

Overview edit

As of 1 May 2013
Competition Pld W D L GF GA
Asian Club Championship / AFC Champions League 18 8 2 8 32 23
AFC Cup 11 7 2 2 24 13
Arab Club Champions Cup 23 11 8 4 41 25
GCC Champions League 33 17 9 7 45 30
TOTAL 85 43 21 21 142 91

Record by country edit

Country Pld W D L GF GA GD Win%
  Algeria 1 0 0 1 1 2 −1 000.00
  Bahrain 7 4 2 1 10 3 +7 057.14
  Bangladesh 1 1 0 0 3 1 +2 100.00
  Egypt 2 1 0 1 3 3 +0 050.00
  Indonesia 2 2 0 0 4 0 +4 100.00
  Iran 3 1 0 2 3 7 −4 033.33
  Iraq 1 0 1 0 2 2 +0 000.00
  Jordan 1 0 1 0 4 4 +0 000.00
  Kuwait 14 6 4 4 24 19 +5 042.86
  Lebanon 4 2 2 0 5 2 +3 050.00
  Malaysia 1 1 0 0 4 1 +3 100.00
  Maldives 2 2 0 0 8 3 +5 100.00
  Morocco 4 3 0 1 4 2 +2 075.00
  North Korea 1 0 1 0 1 1 +0 000.00
  Oman 8 7 1 0 15 6 +9 087.50
  Qatar 10 3 3 4 10 11 −1 030.00
  Palestine 1 1 0 0 5 1 +4 100.00
  Saudi Arabia 2 1 1 0 2 1 +1 050.00
  Tunisia 2 0 2 0 2 2 +0 000.00
  United Arab Emirates 11 5 2 4 19 13 +6 045.45
  Uzbekistan 5 2 0 3 8 5 +3 040.00
  Yemen 2 1 1 0 5 2 +3 050.00

Matches edit

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
1983 Gulf Club Champions Cup Group Stage   Al-Muharraq 0–0 2−0 1st
  Al-Arabi 2–0 0−2
Final   Al-Arabi
1984 Arab Club Champions Cup Final Stage   West Riffa
  Al Ansar
1988 Gulf Club Champions Cup Group Stage   Fanja
  West Riffa
Final   Kazma
Arab Club Champions Cup Group B   Sharjah
  Al-Shabab Baghdad
  KAC Marrakech
Semi-finals   Fanja
Final   Club Africain
1–1 (4–2 p)
1988–89 Asian Club Championship Semi-final League Group B   Pahang
  Mohammedan Sporting Club
  April 25
1989 Arab Club Champions Cup Group B   Wydad
  ES Sahel
  Al Ansar
1993 Arab Club Champions Cup Group B   Al-Qadsia
  WA Tlemcen
  Hilal Al-Quds
2003 Arab Unified Club Championship PO   Shaab Ibb 3–0 2−2 5–2
Group A   Al-Faisaly
Semi-finals   Zamalek
2005 Gulf Club Champions Cup Group Stage   Muscat
  Umm Salal
2006 Gulf Club Champions Cup Group B   Qatar
  Al Jazira
Semi-finals   Al-Salmiya 3–0 3−3 6–3
Final   Al-Qadsia 1–1 1−0 2–1
2007 Gulf Club Champions Cup Group A   Al-Najma
  Al Jazira
Semi-finals   Al-Hilal 1–1 1−0 2–1
Final   Al Jazira 2–0 1−3 3–3 (6–7 p)
2009 AFC Champions League Group D   Bunyodkor 4–0 1−2 1st
  Sepahan 2–1 0−3
  Al-Shabab Al-Arabi 4–1 4−1
Round of 16   Pakhtakor 1–2 1–2
2009–10 Gulf Club Champions Cup Group C   Qatar 1–1 2−3 2nd
  Al-Orouba 3–2 1−0
2012 AFC Champions League 2Q   Sepahan 1–3 1–3
AFC Cup Group C   Al-Kuwait 2–2 5−1 1st
  Al-Ahed 0–0 3−1
  VB 2–0 6−3
Round of 16   Al-Suwaiq 1–0 1–0
Quarter-finals   Arema 2–0 2–0 4–0
Semi-finals   Al-Kuwait 0–2 1–4 1–6
2013 AFC Champions League Group B   Pakhtakor 2–0 0−1 3rd
  Lekhwiya 0–0 0−2
  Al-Shabab Al-Arabi 4–1 0−1

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^
  2. ^ "تاريخ النادي". Archived from the original on 2019-07-12. Retrieved 2023-06-15.
  3. ^ "النادي | رابطة الدوري السعودي للمحترفين". Archived from the original on 2021-01-19. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  4. ^ "الفريق الأول". Archived from the original on 2019-07-12. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  5. ^ Asian Club Championship 1989 – Schedule & Results Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  6. ^ AFC Champions League 2009 – Schedule & Results, Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  7. ^ AFC Champions League 2012 – Draw, Retrieved 9 December 2011.

External links edit

Preceded by GCC Champions League
Runner-up: Al-Arabi

Succeeded by
Preceded by GCC Champions League
Runner-up: Kazma

Succeeded by
Preceded by GCC Champions League
Runner-up: Qadsia SC

Succeeded by