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Al-Gharafa Sports Club (Arabic: نادي الغرافة الرياضي‎) is a Qatari sports club based in the Al Gharrafa district of Al Rayyan. It is best known for its football team, although it also has teams for other sports. It was established on 6 June 1979 as Al-Ittihad and later officially incorporated into the Qatar Football Association on 23 September that same year. The club was officially renamed to its current form in 2004 to better represent the district of Al-Gharafa, which the club belongs to.

Full name Al-Gharafa Sports Club
Nickname(s) Al Fuhud (The Cheetahs)
Founded 6 June 1979 (39 years ago) (1979-06-06) as Al-Ittihad, 2004 as Al-Gharafa
Ground Thani bin Jassim Stadium
Al Rayyan, Qatar
Capacity 21,175
Chairman Hamad bin Thamer
Manager France Christian Gourcuff
League Qatar Stars League
2017–18 Qatar Stars League, 4th
Active departments of
Al-Gharafa Sports Club
Football pictogram.svg Basketball pictogram.svg
Football Basketball

The idea of creating the new club that would represent Gharafat Al-Rayyan sparked from a group of young Qataris in 1978. Most notably, people like Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al-Thani, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani, Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal Al-Thani, Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al-Thani and Saad Mohammad Al-Rumaihi.[1] In a documentary produced by Al Kass sports channel about the history of the club, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim mentioned that the idea was suggested by Saad Al-Romaihi initially who was working as a sports journalist at Al Raya newspaper.




Al-Gharafa Sports Club was founded on 6 June 1979 and was formally created on 23 September 1979 as Al-Ittihad by the first president of the board of directors, Khalifa Bin Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Thani (1979–1982) under resolution no. 9. Al-Gharafa was founded with the intent of creating sports facilities for the youth in the Al-Gharafa region. It did not occur to the leaders that Al-Gharafa would become as tremendously successful as it is today. The name "Al-Ittihad", which when translated into English, means "United", was chosen in the spirit of the brotherhood and solidarity that characterized the club and its leaders. Yellow and blue were selected as the club colors due to the founders' endearment towards the Brazilian national team.[1] Al-Gharafa owes much of its success in the early years to the financial and material support of its Sheikh leaders.[2]

As Al-Gharafa was established relatively late compared to other Qatari clubs at the time, it was sent to the Qatari 2nd Division. It dominated the league and won the title on its debut in the 1979/80 season with Egyptian coach Mahmoud Abu Rujaila, as well three more times, the second by defending the championship in the 1980/81 season, and the third in the 1983/84 season, which, subsequently, was the year that their youth team had also won the league. Their first foreign player was Faisal Hannan, a Sudanese footballer who agreed to a contract one year prior to the club's establishment. Additionally, they won the 1986/87 season of the 2nd Division, allowing them to play in the 1987–88 season of the Qatar Stars League. The club ended up winning its first Stars League title in 1991–92, breaking the 16-year deadlock between the three dominant Qatari clubs Al-Arabi, Al Sadd, and Al-Rayyan. Al-Gharafa's youth team also won the league a year later in the 1992/93 season. The club were runners-up in 1994 to Al-Arabi, before winning the Emir of Qatar Cup 4 times in a row, from 1995 til 1998.[2]

The club won the league for the second time in the 1997/98 season with 32 points after they edged Al-Rayyan by a margin of 3 points. Al-Rayyan finished runners-up, with Al Sadd in third place. The very next year they finished runners-up to Al-Wakrah, however, Al-Gharafa who had the best goal difference.[2]


On Friday, 28 April 2000, in Khalifa International Stadium, Al-Gharafa won their first Qatar Crown Prince Cup. The match had ended goalless before they beat Al-Rayyan 9–8 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. They were led by Adel Khamis, the long-time captain of the team. Al-Gharafa also won the Crown Prince Cup in 2010 and 2011.[2]

They won the league championship in the 2000–01 season by defeating Al Sadd in their last game on 1 May 2001 by a scoreline of 1–0. After the match, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, then chairman of the olympic committee, delivered an award to Adel Khamis, as well as gold medals to the whole team and a sum of 500,000 Qatari riyals to the club. Rachid Amrane also won the league top goalscorer with a tally of 16 goals.[2]


The Qatar Stars League was revamped in the 2004/05 season, with many clubs changing their names (including Al-Gharafa), as well as changing the number of games played each season from 18 to 27. The club won the league this year, with only 1 loss from 27 games, bringing their point tally to 66, which was 14 more than the runners-up, Al-Rayyan. They also won their first Sheikh Jassem Cup that year, on 12/9/2005, after defeating Al Ahli 2–1, courtesy of goals from Rodrigo and Fahad Al Shammari.[2]

The next year they were unsuccessful in retaining the league championship, only finishing runners-up to Al Sadd. Although the next season, they won the league once more, besides scoring the highest number of goals in a season with 72 goals, mainly thanks to the efforts of Araújo, who scored 27 goals that season, shattering Gabriel Batistuta's record of 25.[2]


Al Gharafa plays its home games at Thani bin Jassim Stadium which is situated in the Al Gharafa suburb of Al Rayyan. The stadium holds 27,000 people and was built in 2003. The stadium hosted 2011 AFC Asian Cup and other international competitions. It is planned to expand the existing 27,000 capacity to 44,740 for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[3]

Youth developmentEdit

Al Gharafa has one of the largest youth development programmes in the country. It recruits youth players for every age bracket available, and has produced national team players from its academy. They regularly visit local schools, as well as hold school tournaments, and offer students trials. Currently there are approximately 350 players in the club's youth ranks, with 100 players in its academy, and 240 players in grass roots. Break-up is as follows (as of 2013):[4]

Break-up of all youth players
Total number of youth players Playing in national teams In ASPIRE
Break-up of academy players
Category U–19 U–17 U–15 U–14 Total no. of players
Number of players
Number of trainers
Training sessions/week
Break-up of grass–roots players
Category U–12 U–11 U–10 U–9 U–8 U–7 U–6 U–15 Total no. of players
Number of players
Number of trainers
Training sessions/week


Winners (7): 1992, 1998, 2002 (as Al-Ittihad), 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010
Winners (4): 1980, 1982, 1984, 1987 (as Al-Ittihad)
Winners (7): 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002 (as Al-Ittihad), 2009, 2012
Winners (3): 2000 (as Al-Ittihad), 2010, 2011
Winners (2): 2009, 2018 (Record)
Winners (1): 1999 (Defunct)

Performance in AFC competitionsEdit

AFC Champions League
Season Round Results Team 2 Venue Scorer(s)
8 March 2006 Group Round 0 – 2   Saba Battery Doha, Qatar
22 March 2006 0 – 2   Al-Wahda Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
12 April 2006 4 – 0   Al-Karamah Doha, Qatar A'ala Hubail (2), Lawrence Quaye, Ismaiel Ali
26 April 2006 1 – 3   Al-Karamah Homs, Syria Lawrence Quaye
3 May 2006 1 – 4   Saba Battery Tehran, Iran Abdulla Al-Mazroa
17 May 2006 5 – 3   Al-Wahda Doha, Qatar A'ala Hubail (3), Fahad Al Shammari, Sergio Ricardo
12 March 2008 Group Round 1 – 1   Arbil Zarqa, Jordan Araújo
19 March 2008 2 – 2   Pakhtakor Doha, Qatar Younis Mahmoud, Araújo
9 April 2008 0 – 1   Al Qadisiya Kuwait Kuwait City, Kuwait
23 April 2008 0 – 1   Al Qadisiya Kuwait Doha, Qatar
7 May 2008 0 – 1   Arbil Doha, Qatar
21 May 2008 0 – 2   Pakhtakor Tashkent, Uzbekistan
10 March 2009 Group Round 1 – 3   Al-Shabab Doha, Qatar Araújo
17 March 2009 2 – 0   Sharjah Sharjah, United Arab Emirates Nasser Kamil, Araújo
8 April 2009 1 – 3   Persepolis Tehran, Iran Fernandão
21 April 2009 5 – 1   Persepolis Doha, Qatar Fernandão, Araújo (3), Nashat Akram
6 May 2009 0 – 1   Al-Shabab Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
23 February 2010 Group Round 2 – 1   Al-Jazira Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Otmane El Assas, Younis Mahmoud
9 March 2010 3 – 2   Al-Ahli Doha, Qatar Mirghani Al Zain, Saad Al-Shammari, Araújo
23 March 2010 0 – 3   Esteghlal Tehran, Iran
31 March 2010 1 – 1   Esteghlal Doha, Qatar Younis Mahmoud
14 April 2010 4 – 2   Al-Jazira Doha, Qatar Araújo (3), Otmane El Assas
28 April 2010 1 – 0   Al-Ahli Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Naser Kamil
11 May 2010 Round of 16 1 – 0   Pakhtakor Doha, Qatar Araújo
15 September 2010 Quarterfinal 0 – 3   Al-Hilal Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
22 September 2010 4 – 2   Al-Hilal Doha, Qatar Mirghani Al Zain, Younis Mahmoud (2), Otmane El Assas
1 March 2011 Group Round 0 – 0   Al-Jazira Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
15 March 2011 0 – 1   Al-Hilal Doha, Qatar
5 April 2011 0 – 2   Sepahan Isfahan, Iran
29 April 2011 1 – 0   Sepahan Doha, Qatar Amara Diané
4 May 2011 5 – 2   Al-Jazira Doha, Qatar Younis Mahmoud (3), Amara Diané, Mirghani Al Zain
11 May 2011 0 – 2   Al-Hilal Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Current squadEdit

First team squadEdit

As of Qatar Stars League:

No Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Qasem Burhan   Qatar
2 Defender Saeed El-Hadj   Qatar
3 Defender Tameem Al-Muhizea   Qatar
4 Midfielder Assim Madibo (on loan from Al-Duhail)   Qatar
5 Defender Al-Mahdi Ali Mukhtar   Qatar
6 Defender Rubert Quijada (on loan from Caracas)   Venezuela
7 Midfielder Fuhaid Al Shammari   Qatar
8 Defender Yousef Muftah   Qatar
9 Forward Mehdi Taremi   Iran
10 Midfielder Wesley Sneijder   Netherlands
11 Midfielder Othman Al-Yahri   Qatar
12 Forward Adel Ahmed   Qatar
13 Goalkeeper Yousef Hassan   Qatar
14 Midfielder Abdulghani Muneer   Qatar
16 Defender Thamer Jamal   Sudan
17 Forward Ahmed Alaaeldin   Qatar
18 Midfielder Amr Abdulfattah   Qatar
19 Midfielder Abdulmajeed Enad   Qatar
20 Midfielder Monkez Adi   Qatar
21 Midfielder Muaaz Al-Salemi   Qatar
22 Goalkeeper Abdulaziz Ali   Qatar
23 Midfielder Khalid Abdulraouf   Qatar
24 Midfielder Moayad Hassan   Qatar
25 Midfielder Diogo Amado   Portugal
26 Midfielder Abdulaziz Hatem   Qatar
27 Defender Mohammed Ramadan   Qatar
29 Forward Andri Syahputra   Indonesia
32 Midfielder Mohammed Aba Shaar   Qatar
38 Defender Hassan Waleed   Qatar
77 Defender Abdurahman Al-Rashidi   Qatar
80 Defender Eliyas Ahmed   Qatar
94 Goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Sadah   Qatar
97 Forward Mohammed Badi   Qatar
98 Forward Mohammed Abo Shanab   Qatar

Other players under contractEdit

No Position Player Nation
79 Midfielder Vladimír Weiss   Slovakia
-- Midfielder Huthaifa Al Salemi   Qatar

Notable playersEdit

This list includes players whom have made significant contributions to their national team and to the club. At least 100 caps for the club or 80 caps for their national team is needed to be considered for inclusion. Updated 28 March 2016.

Local players

Foreign players


Last update: 19 May 2018.[5]

Club officialsEdit


Position Staff
President Sh. Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani
Vice-President Sh. Khalid bin Ahmed Al Thani
Treasurer Sh. Thani bin Thamer Al Thani
General Secretary Jassem Al Mansouri
Vice Secretary Ahmed Al Shehhi
Board member Sh. Abdulaziz bin Jassim Al-Thani
General Secretary Sh. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Thani
General Secretary Sh. Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani
General Secretary Sh. Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani

Last updated: 18 December 2014
Source: Board of Directors

Presidential historyEdit

Last update: December 2014.[2]

Years Chairman
Sep 1979 – May 1982   Khalifa bin Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Thani
May 1982 – May 1984   Saad Mohammed Al-Rumaihi
May 1984 – May 1989   Sh. Mohammed bin Jassim bin Faisal Al-Thani
May 1989 – May 1991   Sh. Hamad bin Faisal bin Thani Al-Thani
May 1991 – May 1992   Sh. Khalid bin Thani bin Abdullah Al-Thani
May 1992 – May 2001   Sh. Jassim bin Khalifa bin Saud Al-Thani
May 2001 – May 2005   Sh. Jassim bin Thamer bin Mohammed Al-Thani
May 2005 –   Sh. Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani

Managerial historyEdit

Last update: June 2014.[2][6][7]

  • Note 1 denotes caretaker role


  1. ^ a b "الغرافة أسس على الحب والترابط وروح الأسرة الواحدة". 31 January 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "تاريخ النادي" (in Arabic). Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Thani bin Jassim Stadium". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Al Gharafa Football Club (AFC Inspection visit)" (PDF). Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Staff – football" (in Arabic). Al Gharafa. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  6. ^ "مسابقة كأس سمو الأمير لكرة القدم المباريات النهائية". Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  7. ^ "تاريخ بطولة كأس سمـــــــو ولي العهد". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Interview with Faisal Hannan". 15 March 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  9. ^ "مع احترامي للريان والجيش.. الكأس الغالية غرفاوية". 17 May 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Qatar's Al Ittihad takes on Al Ain today". 8 January 2001. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  11. ^ "طموح السد "التحليق" في صدارة قطر". 5 December 2003. Retrieved 17 December 2014.

External linksEdit