Al-Ittihad SC Aleppo

Al-Ittihad Sports Club of Aleppo (Arabic: نادي الاتحاد الرياضي الحلبي) is a professional multi-sports club based in the Syrian city of Aleppo, mostly known for its football team which competes in the Syrian Premier League, the top league of Syrian football.[1] Being one of the most successful clubs (after Al-Jaish, Al-Karamah SC) in Syrian football history, Al-Ittihad won six Syrian football league titles and ten Syrian cups. In Asia, their best performance was in 2010 when they became champions of AFC Cup competition.[2]

Al-Ittihad of Aleppo
Al Ittihad Aleppo.gif
Full nameAl-Ittihad Sports Club of Aleppo
Nickname(s)The Red Castle
Halab Al-Ahli
Al-Hawiya
Founded20 January 1949; 73 years ago (1949-01-20) as Al-Ahli Sports Club
GroundAl-Hamadaniah Stadium[a]
Capacity15,000
PresidentSyria Rasen Martini
ManagerSyria Maher Bahri
LeagueSyrian Premier League
2021–225th
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Active departments of
Al-Ittihad SC
Football pictogram.svg Basketball pictogram.svg Basketball pictogram.svg
Football Men's Basketball Women's Basketball

The club was founded in 1949 and received its license in 1953. They play their home games at the Aleppo International Stadium since its inauguration in 2007. Due to the reconstruction of the main Aleppo International Stadium, they are temporarily playing at the Al-Hamadaniah Stadium from 2021.[3] The club have their own ground; Al-Ittihad Stadium with a capacity of 10,000 spectators.

Al-Ittihad are also known for their basketball team.[4] In general, 20 types of sports including volleyball and handball are being practiced by the club.

HistoryEdit

Early history (1949–1972)Edit

The club was founded on 20 January 1949 under the name Halab Al-Ahli Club, by the merge of three smaller football teams in Aleppo: Al-Janah (The Wing), Assad Al-Shahba (Lions of Shahba) and Al-Nejmeh (The Star), before getting recognized officially by the Ministry of Internal Affairs on 24 September 1953. Prior to the foundation of the Syrian official football league, the club have competed in various regional competitions in the Aleppo Governorate such as the regional league of Aleppo and the Aleppo Municipality Shield. The first major success in the club's history was winning the Syrian Cup in the 1964–65 season, when they beat Barada SC 4–1 in the final.[5]

The club have participated in the first ever Syrian football league in 1966–67 when they became champions.[6] In the following league season, the club managed to defend the title. In 1972, the name of the club was changed to Al-Ittihad SC Aleppo by the decision of the Syrian government.[7] Since then, they have never relegated to the bottom level.

Ups and downs (1972–2005)Edit

The 1972–73 season was also success, as despite the league being suspended, the club managed to win the Syrian Cup.[5] Despite being among the most successful clubs in the country, they only managed to win the league title in the 1976–77 season when they overtook their later rivals Al-Karamah SC. Until 1982, Al-Ahli regularly placed third in the league.

Everything changed in the 1981–82 season when Al-Ahli won the Syrian Cup and reached the final of the Syrian Super Cup, losing 1–2 to Al-Karamah SC. The same success in the cup was recorded by the club in 1984 and 1985.[5] In the 1985–86 season, the club made its first appearance in an Asian competition, advancing from the group stage at the Asian Club Championship and finishing in 4th place after losing to Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian.[8] In the following seasons, the club managed to finish second at most.

The last time in this period, the club managed to achieve the league championship in 1993 and 1995, beating long standing rival Al-Karamah. In addition to both league titles, they also won the Cup in 1994 over Jableh SC.[5] After this seasons, the club experienced a loss of quality, which was reflected in the club's poor results in domestic competitions.[9]

Domestic and continental success (2005–2012)Edit

In the 2004–05 season, after a successful group stage of the league, the club took part in the title, and then, after winning the cup final over Al-Majd SC, also the Syrian Cup victory.[10][5] In the 2005–2006 season, Al-Ahli managed to win the Syrian Cup after they dominated the final against Tishreen SC 3–0.[11] For the first time in their history, they took part in the AFC Champions League, where they took third place in the group after defeating Pakhtakor and Foolad.[12] In the 2007-08 season, the club finished third overall in the league behind Al Karamah and Al Majd SC. The club also participated in the 2008 AFC Champions League, defeating Sepahan twice in the group stage (2-1, 2–0).[13] In April 2009, after two years, the club sacked its Romanian coach Valeriu Tița.[14] During the 2009/10 winter break, Tița returned to Al-Ittihad, bringing with him goalkeeping coach Dan Racolța.

In the 2010 season, during its first participation in the AFC Cup, Al-Ittihad was able to go from second place in the group to the playoffs.[15] In the round of 16 of the competition, they met Kuwait SC, which they defeated 5–4 on penalties after a 1–1 draw in regular time. In the quarter-finals, they advanced over Kazma SC, which they defeated 3-2 and 1–0. In the semi-finals, they beat Muangthong United 2–1 on the score after a close double-header.[16] In the final of the AFC Cup, they met with Qadsia SC, with whom they drew 1-1 after regular time (Dyab scored a goal for Ittihad) and beat them 4-2 after penalties (Radwan Kalaji scored the decisive penalty).[17] They became only the second Syrian football club to win the Asian club competition.[18]

In the 2010–11 season, the club won the Syrian Cup, defeating Al-Wathba SC 3–1 in the final. In the same season, the club failed to reach the AFC Champions League play-offs, losing to Al Sadd SC 1–5.[19] In the group stage of the 2011 AFC Cup, they first beat Al-Saqr 2–1, but then lost to Qadsia SC 0–2.[20] In other matches, they drew Shurtan Guzar 1–1 and 0–0, won against Al-Saqr SC 2–0 and lost to Qadsia 2–3.[20]

In the 2011–12 season, the club was playing to stay in the Syrian Premier League and withdrew from the 2012 Syrian Cup in the semi-finals due to the conflict in the country.[21] The club also participated in the 2012 AFC Cup, despite not being able to play at home ground, they beat Qadsia 1-0 and drew with Al-Faisaly SC 0-0.[22]

Difficult years (2012–2017)Edit

The club had to play the entire 2012–13 season in Damascus due to security reasons arising from the beginning of the Battle of Aleppo. Despite this, it placed in mid-table in the league and retained its league affiliation.[23] Due to the security situation, Al-Ittihad also had to withdraw from the 2013 Syrian Cup, for which it was threatened with a two-year ban from participating in domestic competitions, but it finally received an exemption from the federation.[24]

In the 2013–14 season, the club also played in Damascus and finished in the relegation place in the league, it was saved from relegation by the fact that the clubs in the first division were not interested in entering the SPL.[25] The club achieved little success in the 2014 Syrian Cup, where they advanced to the semi-finals, where they lost to Baniyas SC 0–2.[26] In the 2014–15 season, the club was placed in the bottom half of the league table of Group A.[27]

In the 2015–16 season, Al-Ittihad SC achieved unexpected success by finishing second in Group B of the SPL, advancing to the Championship group where they finished just three points behind Al-Wahda and Al-Jaish in third place.[28] The 2016–17 season was a breakthrough from the club's point of view. On 28 January 2017, Al-Ahli finally returned to Aleppo, defeating Hurriya SC 2–1 in a derby match at Ri'ayet al-Shabab Stadium.[29]

Stabilization and gradual success (2017–present)Edit

Financially and infrastructurally stabilized Al-Ittihad finished in second place in the 2017–18 season, after losing a tie-breaker to Al-Jaish with whom they were level on points.[30] They lost to Al-Jaish 0-1 as league vice-champions in the 2018 Syrian Super Cup.[31]

In the 2018–19 season, they participated as Syrian runners-up in the group stage of the 2019 AFC Cup. Unfortunately, the team managed only one positive result, a 0–0 draw with Al-Najma. They lost the other matches with Al-Jazeera SC and Kuwait SC.[32]

In the 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons, the Al-Ittihad finished sixth and eighth respectively in the Syrian Premier League. Therefore, due to the negative results, the club management gradually dismissed the coaches Ahmad Hawash and Artur Bernardes. A new Croatian coach, Igor Tkalčević, came in their place, but the results of the football team did not improve, as they were only playing for survival in the league until the spring of 2022.

The situation culminated in the resignation of the long-time chairman of the club Bassel Hamwi in March 2022, who was replaced by the new chairman Rasen Martini and the new coach Maher Bahri.[33] The team, stabilized financially and in play, ended up in fifth place in the SPL.[34]

StadiumsEdit

 
Al-Ittihad fans crowded in the Aleppo International Stadium

Al-Ittihad's original home ground since the early 1950s was the Aleppo Municipal Stadium which is considered one of the most historic stadiums in Syria. At the beginning of the 1990s the club moved to the newly built Al-Hamadaniah Stadium. After the inauguration of the Aleppo International Stadium in 2007, the club decided to play their home games at the Syrian league and AFC competitions in the modern stadium which can host around 75,000 spectators. Al-Hamadaniah Stadium is still used as an alternative venue.

Stadium Name Capacity Years
7 April Stadium 12,000 1949–90
Al-Hamadaniah Stadium Original: 25,000 (15,000 after the 2008 renovation) 1990–08, 2021–
Aleppo International Stadium 75,000 2008–
Ri'ayet al-Shabab Stadium 10,000 2017–2021

Training facilitiesEdit

The training grounds of al-Ittihad are located in the al-Shahbaa district of Aleppo. The complex is home to the al-Ittihad Stadium with a capacity of 10,000 spectators, a nearby indoor training pitch and many other small pitches. There are also two basketball courts, an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, conference rooms and offices.

Supporters and rivalriesEdit

Al-Ittihad are rivals with fellow Aleppine clubs Hurriya, Al-Jalaa, Al-Herafyeen, Ouroube and Al-Yarmouk.[29] In addition to the city's rivals, the biggest rival is the Al-Wahda SC. Their ultras group, formed before 2010, is called "Red Devils of Aleppo".

Colours and kitsEdit

Since its foundation, the traditional colour of Al-Ittihad's home kit is red with various designs over the years. Therefore, the club is nicknamed The Red Castle by the fans as a reference to the city's main landmark; the Citadel of Aleppo. The away kit may vary between a full white kit and a white kit with red stripes on the shirt.[35]

Kit suppliers and shirt sponsorsEdit

Period Kit supplier Shirt sponsor
2008–2012 Adidas None
2012–2013 Uhlsport
2013–2016 Adidas
2016–2017 MBB Apparel
2017–2019 Adidas Katarji Group
2019–2020 Nike
2020–present Adidas

Football achievementsEdit

DomesticEdit

Winners: 1967, 1968, 1977, 1993, 1995, 2005
Winners: 1965, 1973, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1994, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2022
Runners-up: 1982, 1985, 2018

ContinentalEdit

Winners: 2010

RegionalEdit

Round of 16: 2009

Performance in AFC competitionsEdit

1985: 4th place
2002–03: Qualifying West – 3rd Round
2006: Group Stage
2007: Group Stage
2008: Group Stage
2011: Qualifying Play-off – West Semi-final
2010: Champions
2011: Group Stage
2012: Group Stage
2019: Group Stage

RecordsEdit

Accurate as of 12 June 2022

Match won Match drawn Match lost Champions Runners-up
Season Competition Round Club Home Away
1985–86 Asian Club Championship Group   Bangkok Bank 3–0
  Daewoo Royals 0–1
Semifinals   Al Ahli Jeddah 0–1
3rd place match   Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian 0–1
2002–03 AFC Champions League 2nd Round   Khujand w/o[b]
3rd Round   Al-Arabi 0–1 0–3
2005–06 AFC Champions League Group   Pakhtakor 2–1 0–2
  Foolad 0–0 2–1
  Qadsia 2–2 0–1
2006–07 AFC Champions League Group   Sepahan 0–5 1–2
  Al Ain 0–0 1–1
  Al Shabab 1–1 0–4
2007–08 AFC Champions League Group   Sepahan 2–1 2–0
  Al-Ittihad 0–1 0–3
  Bunyodkor 0–2 0–1
2010 AFC Cup Group   East Bengal 2–1 4–1
  Qadsia 0–0 0–3
  Nejmeh 4–2 0–1
Round of 16   Kuwait 1–1 (5–4 pen.)
Quarterfinals   Kazma 3–2 1–0
Semifinals   Muangthong 2–0 0–1
Final   Qadsia 1–1 (4–2 pen.)
2010–11 AFC Champions League Qualifying Play-off Round   Al Sadd 1–5
2011 AFC Cup Group   Al-Saqr SC 2–0 2–1
  Qadsia 0–2 2–3
  Shurtan Guzan 0–0 1–1
2012 AFC Cup Group   Qadsia 1–0[c] 2–5
  Al-Faisaly 1–4[d] 1–1
  Suwaiq 0–2[e] 0–2
2019 AFC Cup Group   Kuwait 0–2[f] 0–0
  Najma 1–2[g] 1–2
  Al-Jazeera 0–2[h] 0–4

Performance in UAFA competitionsEdit

2004: 1st Round
2009: Round of 16
1995: Group Stage

RecordsEdit

Accurate as of 12 June 2022

Match won Match drawn Match lost Champions Runners-up
Season Competition Round Club Home Away
1994–95 Arab Cup Winners' Cup Group   Club Africain 0–1
  Al-Nasr 3–0
  Al Ahly 0–1
  Al-Riyadh 0–2
2003–04 Arab Club Champions Cup 1st Round   Al-Ittihad Jeddah 0–0 0–2
2008–09 Arab Club Champions Cup Round of 32   USM Annaba 0–0 0–0 (4–2 pen.)
Round of 16   Wydad AC 1–0 0–2

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

As of 12 June 2022

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   SYR Khaled Haj Othman
3 DF   SYR Mohamad Yousef
4 DF   SYR Ahmad Kallasi
5 DF   SYR Yasser Shahen
6 MF   SYR Hazem Mahamid
7 MF   SYR Mohammed Al-Abdo
8 MF   SYR Muhamad Alati
10 FW   SYR Mohammad Al-Ahmad
11 FW   SYR Abdulhadi Shalha
12 DF   SYR Ali Al-Rina
14 MF   SYR Jamil Abdullah
18 MF   SYR Hasan Dahan
19 MF   SYR Zakaria Aziz
No. Pos. Nation Player
20 MF   SYR Amjad Fayed
22 GK   SYR Fadi Merie
23 MF   SYR Mohamad Mido
25 FW   SYR Zakaria Ramdan
27 MF   SYR Mohamad Rihanieh
32 DF   SYR Hassan Al Damen
33 GK   SYR Zakaria Dehneh
63 MF   SYR Fawaz Bawadkji
66 MF   SYR Mohammed Kayali
70 MF   SYR Fadi Beko
80 MF   SYR Mustafa Tatan
93 FW   SYR Taleb Abd Al Wahed
99 FW   SYR Ali Khalil

Notable playersEdit

Players in international competitions
Competition Player National team
2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) Hussein Jwayed   Syria
Mohamad Rihanieh   Syria
Shaher Al Shaker   Syria
Ahmed Ashkar   Syria
Israa Hamwiah   Syria
Kamel Kawaya   Syria

Former notable playersEdit

 
Abdul Fattah Al Agha played 145 games with 49 goals for Al-Ittihad between 2002 and 2010
 
Wael Ayan played 154 games with 34 goals for Al-Ittihad between 2003 and 2010
 
Omar Hemidi played 140 games for Al-Ittihad between 2003 and 2012

AdministrationEdit

Administrative Board of Al-Ittihad Aleppo Club:

Office Name
President of the Board Rasen Martini
Investment and Facilities Director Mulham Tabbara
Member of the Board Jum'a ar-Rashed
Administrative and Legislative Committee Director Ayman Hazzam
Financial Director Ziyad al-Sheikh Omar
Member of the Board Weizar Sarmini
Training Centres Director Reem Sabbagh

Last updated: March 2022
Source: ittihadaleppo.com

Managerial historyEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Aleppo International Stadium (75,000) is closed since 2012.
  2. ^ Khujand disqualified following suspension of Tajik FA by FIFA and AFC.
  3. ^ Due to the political crisis in Syria, the AFC requested Syrian clubs to play their home matches at neutral venues.[36]
  4. ^ Due to the political crisis in Syria, the AFC requested Syrian clubs to play their home matches at neutral venues.[36]
  5. ^ Due to the political crisis in Syria, the AFC requested Syrian clubs to play their home matches at neutral venues.[36]
  6. ^ Teams from Syria were not allowed to host their home matches in their country due to security concerns.
  7. ^ Teams from Syria were not allowed to host their home matches in their country due to security concerns.
  8. ^ Teams from Syria were not allowed to host their home matches in their country due to security concerns.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Al-Ittihad SC". goalzz.com. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  2. ^ "AFC Cup 2010 Final". goalzz.com. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  3. ^ "ديربي حلب يخطف الأضواء في الجولة الثالثة للدوري السوري". koora.com. 5 November 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Al-Ittihad, History". asia-basket. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Syria – List of Cup Winners". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Syria – List of Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  7. ^ "The History of Al-Ittihad". Al-Ittihad official website (in Arabic). Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Champions' Cup 1985/86".
  9. ^ "2010 AFC Cup Final – Match Summary". the-afc.com. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Al-Ittihad SC in Syrian League 2004/2005". kooora.com.com. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  11. ^ "Syria Cup 2005/06". goalzz.com. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  12. ^ "전북 현대 AFC 챔피언스리그 우승". Yonhap News Agency (in Korean). 9 November 2006. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  13. ^ "2008 AFC Champions League". goalzz.com. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  14. ^ -campionatului-siriei-132554.html Gazeta Sporturilor on April 6, 2009 (Romanian), retrieved on 20 February 2010
  15. ^ Open ACL draw for Koreans; Saudis separated
  16. ^ "Al Ittihad 2-0 Muangthong United. Agg 2-1". afc.com. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010.[dead link]
  17. ^ 2010 AFC Cup Final (Goalzz.com)
  18. ^ "Al Ittihad win AFC Cup". the-afc.com. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  19. ^ "2011 AFC Champions League qualifying play-off". goalzz.com. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  20. ^ a b "2011 AFC Cup". goalzz.com. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". topnews-nasserkandil.com. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "2012 AFC Cup". goalzz.com. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  23. ^ "2013 Syrian Premier League".
  24. ^ "كووورة: الموقع العربي الرياضي الأول".
  25. ^ "كووورة: الموقع العربي الرياضي الأول".
  26. ^ "Decisive confrontations in the Cup quarter-finals Republic" (in Arabic). Syrian-soccer.com. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  27. ^ "اتحاد الكرة السوري يعلن مواعيد مباريات الدور الأول من الدوري". kooora.com. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  28. ^ "كووورة: الموقع العربي الرياضي الأول".
  29. ^ a b "Derby returns to Aleppo after five-year absence". Reuters. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  30. ^ Platt, Oliver (23 September 2017). "Former Toronto FC striker Mo Babouli joins Syrian club Al-Ittihad". Waking The Red.
  31. ^ "2018 Syrian Super Cup". goalzz.com. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  32. ^ "2019 AFC Cup". goalzz.com. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  33. ^ "Staff". asia-basket. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  34. ^ "Syria - Premier League 2021-22: Results, fixtures, tables, statistics - Goalzz".
  35. ^ Abdul Najjar (5 October 2022). "الاتحاد الحلبي يكشف عن قميصه الجديد". kooora.com (in Arabic). Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  36. ^ a b c "Yemen, Syria clubs to play in neutral venue". AFC. 27 February 2012.

External linksEdit