Shabab Al-Ahli Club

Shabab al-Ahli Club (Arabic: نادي شباب الأهلي‎) is a United Arab Emirates professional association football club based in Dubai, that currently plays in the UAE Arabian Gulf League. Al-Ahli is one of the most successful clubs in the UAE.

Shabab Al-Ahli Club
نادي شباب الأهلي دبي لكرة القدم
Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai FC.png
Full nameShabab Al-Ahli Club
نادي شباب الأهلي
Nickname(s)Al Fursan Al Humur (The Red Knights)
Founded1958; 62 years ago (1958) as Al Ahli FC
GroundRashid Stadium
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
ChairmanAhmed Al Maktoum
ManagerGerard Zaragoza
LeagueUAE Pro-League
2019–20UAE Pro-League, 1st (league abandoned, no title awarded)
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Active departments of
Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai
Football pictogram.svg Basketball pictogram.svg
Football Basketball

Al-Ahli Club was established in 1958 in Dubai. Is an Emirati club. and its president is Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Vice President Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the chairman of the club is Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and deputy chairman is Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. And Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed is also the head of Shabab Al Ahli Football Company.

Al Ahli FC has won 7 league titles, a record of 9 UAE's President Cup titles, 4 UAE super Cup titles, 4 UAE League Cup titles and 1 Emirati-Moroccan Super Cup, earning a total of 25 titles, making them the second most successful team in UAE. In the latest ranking by IFFHS, Shabab Al Ahli is the 7th best Asian club and ranked 110 in the world and 4th in Asia.

In 2017, the Dubai CSC and Al Shabab merged with Al Ahli FC making Shabab Al Ahli FC.[1][2]



Al Ahli 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.

Al Ahli translates to "domestic or national" in Arabic. The club won three UAE Arabian Gulf League titles in the 1970s and won its fourth in 2006, fifth in 2009, sixth in 2014 and seventh in 2016.

1973–1980: The golden age and aftermath declineEdit

Mohammed Shehta in the middle, the first manager for Al Ahli Club in early 70s.

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 Mohamed Shehta and featuring players such as Hassan Nazari and Hassan Roshan. The team also won three President Cup titles during that period. Drawing hometown 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. The early 2000s saw Iranian legend Ali Karimi play multiple seasons for Al Ahli, finishing as league top scorer in 2003-04 and being named Asian footballer of the year 2004.[3]

2009 FIFA Club World CupEdit

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.[4]

Recent Success (From 2010 Till Now)Edit

The club began to rise up again and in 2010 with Abdullah Al Naboodah, the squad was gradually re-built, with the likes of Fabio Cannavaro and Grafite and Ricardo Quaresma 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 1–0 on aggregate. 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.[5]

2017 MergeEdit

In 2017 the clubs Dubai CSC and Al Shabab joined with Al-Ahli FC to form Shabab Al Ahli FC. The merge was seen as a controversial move as it meant combining the success of rival club Al Shabab with Al Ahli and it also meant missing the AFC Champions League for the first three years of its existence since it requires a club to exist for three years to obtain an AFC licence. However the team would quickly experience success as they would win the League Cup and President's Cup in 2019.[6][7]

Crest and NicknameEdit

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 "AC" (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.

A new logo was created after the merge between Dubai CSC and Al Shabab that made Shabab Al-Ahli.


Rashid Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates that was named after Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It is currently used mostly for football & Rugby matches. The stadium holds 12,000 people. It was built in 1948. It is the home ground of Shabab Al-Ahli.[5] Shabab Al Ahli also has Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium and Al Aweer Stadium as a second and third home ground for the club after merging with Al Shabab and Dubai in 2017.


Shabab Al Ahli rivalry with Al Ain is gaining popularity as the two clubs alternated as champions in the 70s and more after 2010, and currently both teams are considered among the top teams in the UAE. The match usually creates a lively atmosphere. Al Nasr and Al Wasl are also neighboring rivals competing for who's best team in Dubai

Active departmentsEdit

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 La LigaEdit

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 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.[8]

Pro-League RecordEdit

Season Div. Tms. Pos. President's Cup League Cup
2017–18 PL 12 5th Semi-Finals Semi-Finals
2018–19 PL 14 2nd Champions Champions
2019–20a PL 14 1st Quarter-Finals Runner-ups

Notes^ 2019–20 UAE football season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Arab Emirates.


  • Pos. = Position
  • Tms. = Number of teams
  • PL = Pro-League

Current squadEdit

First team squadEdit

As of UAE Pro-League:

No Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Jamal Al Hosani   United Arab Emirates
2 Defender Salmeen Khamis   United Arab Emirates
3 Midfielder Carlos Eduardo   Brazil
4 Defender Mohammed Marzooq   United Arab Emirates
5 Defender Walid Abbas   United Arab Emirates
6 Midfielder Azizjon Ganiev   Uzbekistan
7 Midfielder Ismail Al Hammadi   United Arab Emirates
8 Midfielder Waleed Hussain   United Arab Emirates
9 Defender Abdulaziz Haikal   United Arab Emirates
10 Midfielder Federico Cartabia (on loan from Deportivo La Coruña)   Argentina
11 Forward Ahmed Khalil   United Arab Emirates
15 Midfielder Abdullah Al-Naqbi   United Arab Emirates
16 Forward Saeed Al-Bloushi   United Arab Emirates
17 Goalkeeper Hassan Hamza   United Arab Emirates
20 Defender Yousif Jaber   United Arab Emirates
21 Defender Mohammed Jaber   United Arab Emirates
23 Midfielder Eisa Waleed   United Arab Emirates
24 Midfielder Héldon Ramos   Cape Verde
27 Midfielder Adel Al Chadli   Yemen
30 Midfielder Mohammed Jumaa   United Arab Emirates
33 Defender Khalifa Mubarak   United Arab Emirates
36 Defender Hamdan Al-Kamali   United Arab Emirates
55 Goalkeeper Majed Naser   United Arab Emirates
62 Defender Abdelaziz Sanqour   United Arab Emirates
66 Midfielder Saoud Abdulrazaq   United Arab Emirates
77 Forward Ahmed Al Attas   United Arab Emirates
88 Midfielder Majed Hassan   United Arab Emirates
92 Midfielder Leandro Spadacio   Brazil

Reserve U21Edit

No Position Player Nation
19 Midfielder Marwan Fahad   United Arab Emirates
34 Forward Hareb Abdullah   United Arab Emirates
37 Defender Ahmed Abdullah   United Arab Emirates
44 Defender Othman Jamaleldin   Jordan
78 Midfielder Eid Khamis   United Arab Emirates
94 Midfielder Weslley Pereira   Brazil
95 Goalkeeper Rashed Suhail   United Arab Emirates
99 Forward Igor Jesus   Brazil

Other players under contractEdit

No Position Player Nation
42 Midfielder Leonardo   Brazil
Forward Pedro Conde   Spain

Out on loanEdit

No Position Player Nation
25 Midfielder Ahmed Jshak (on loan to Ittihad Kalba)   Comoros
40 Forward Alvaro de Oliveira (on loan to Al-Fujairah)   Brazil
50 Defender Saeed Sulaiman (on loan to Hatta)   Comoros
76 Midfielder Khalfan Hassan (on loan to Khor Fakkan)   United Arab Emirates
80 Midfielder Davide Mariani (on loan to Ittihad Kalba)   Switzerland
Defender Hamdan Nasser (on loan to Al-Fujairah)   United Arab Emirates
Forward Saeed Jassem (on loan to Hatta)   United Arab Emirates

Shabab Al Ahli from Board Of DirectorsEdit

  • Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum – President
  • Sheikh Maktoom Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum – Vice President
  • Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum – Chairman
  • Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum – Deputy Chairman

Board membersEdit

  • Khalifa Sulaiman
  • Sami Al-Qamzi
  • Mohammed Al Gergawi
  • Essam Al Humaidan
  • Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri
  • Hisham Abdullah Al Qassem
  • Abdullah Mohammed Al Basti
  • Ahmed Mohammed bin Humaidan

Shabab Al Ahli Football Company Board DirectorsEdit

  • Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum - Chairman
  • Sami Al Qamzi - Deputy Chairman

Board MembersEdit

  • Yaqoob Bin Eisa Al Serkal
  • Abdul Majeed Hussain
  • Ibrahim Abdul-Malik
  • Khalid Buhumaid
  • Jamal Al Mehairi
  • Ali Al-Habsi
  • Saeed Rashid


24 Official[9] Championships

Domestic CompetitionsEdit

Champion: 1974–75, 1975–76, 1979–80, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2013–14, 2015–16
Champion: 1974–75, 1976–77, 1987–88, 1995–96, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2007–08, 2012–13, 2018–19
Champion: 2011–12, 2013–14, 2016–17, 2018–19
Champion: 2009, 2013, 2014, 2016

Continental competitionsEdit

AFC Champions League

Runners-up (1): 2015

Friendly competitionsEdit

Emirati-Moroccan Friendship Super Cup

Winners (1): 2016


  1. ^ "محمــد بن راشد يأمر بدمج الشبـاب ودبي مع الأهلي في كيان واحد". البيان (in Arabic). 17 May 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Al Shabab, Al Ahli and Dubai Club merge". Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  3. ^ "The 10 greatest foreign players to grace UAE football part II — 5-1". The National. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  4. ^ "Al Ahli 0 – 2 Auckland City". ESPN. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  5. ^ a b "Al Ahli Sports Club". Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  6. ^ "Shabab Al Ahli beat Al Wahda 3-1 in extra-time to win fourth Arabian Gulf Cup". Sport 360. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Shabab Al Ahli crowned President's Cup champions". gulftoday. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Al Ahli football club sign ground-breaking agreement with Spain's La Liga through 2018 | The National". Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  9. ^ ONLY Al-Ahli since rebranding championships are counted

External linksEdit