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Shabab Al Ahli
نادي شباب الأهلي
Full nameShabab Al Ahli
Nickname(s)Al Fursan Al Humur (The Red Knights)
Founded1958; 66 years ago (1958)
(as Al Shabab)
Ground Rashid Stadium, Dubai
Owner Hamdan Al Maktoum
ChairmanAhmed Al Maktoum
Head coach Marko Nikolić
League UAE Pro League
2022–23UAE Pro League, 1st (Champions)
Website Club website
Current season

Shabab Al Ahli Club ( Arabic: نادي شباب الأهلي, romanizednādī šabāb al-ʿahlī, lit.'National Youth Club') is a Emirati professional association football club based in Dubai, that currently plays in the UAE ADNOC Pro League. Al-Ahli is one of the most successful clubs in the UAE.

Al Ahli FC has won 8 league titles, a record of 10 UAE's President Cup titles, 6 UAE super Cup titles, 5 ADIB cup titles, 1 Emirati-Moroccan Super Cup, and 1 combined league. Earining a total of 31 titles, making them the second most successful team in UAE. And the most successful team in Dubai. In the latest ranking by the IFFHS, Shabab Al Ahli is the 7th best club in Asia and ranked 110th in the world.

In 2017, the Dubai CSC and Al Shabab merged within 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, seventh in 2016 and eighth in 2023

1973–1980: The golden age and aftermath decline

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 the new leadership of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, winning its fourth league title in 2006 and 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 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. [4]

Bouncing Back

The club began to rise 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 for 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 the 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 Merge

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 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 "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 neighbouring rivals competing for who is the best team in Dubai

Active departments

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.[ citation needed] The club's beach soccer team were UAE champions in 2021. [8]

Relationship with La Liga

In 2016, Al Ahli became the first foreign club to sign a partnership agreement with La Liga, the first of its kind. The signing of the agreement, staged at La Liga's headquarters in Madrid, 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 via 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. [9]

Pro-League record

Season Lvl. Tms. Pos. President's Cup League Cup
2017–18 1 12 5th Semi-Finals Semi-Finals
2018–19 1 14 2nd Champions Champions
2019–20 a 1 14 1st Quarter-Finals Runner-ups
2020–21 1 14 3rd Champions Champions
2021–22 1 14 5th Quarter-Finals Runner-ups
2022–23 1 14 1st Quarter-Finals Quarter-Finals

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
  • Lvl. = League

Club officials

Position Staff
Head Coach Serbia Marko Nikolić
Assistant Coach United Arab Emirates Hassan Al Abdouli
First Team Coach United Arab Emirates Habibullah Khamis
Goalkeeper Coach United Arab Emirates Yahya Sahib
Fitness Trainer United Arab Emirates Islam Sulaiman
Therapist United Arab Emirates Najib Abdullah
United Arab Emirates Saeed Abdul Ghanee
Physioterapist United Arab Emirates Irfan Mahbout
Masseur United Arab Emirates Mahmood Hussein
Specialist Director United Arab Emirates Mansoor Najr
Team Manager United Arab Emirates Mohamed Ahmed-Ibrahim
Manager United Arab Emirates Khaled Alkaabi
United Arab Emirates Ahmed Ali-Shah

Current squad

As of UAE Pro-League: [10]

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 United Arab Emirates  UAE Jamal Al-Hosani
2 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Salmeen Khamis
4 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Mohammed Marzooq
5 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Walid Abbas
6 MF Uzbekistan  UZB Azizjon Ganiev
7 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Harib Abdalla U21
8 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Marwan Fahad
9 FW Israel  ISR Mu'nas Dabbur
10 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Federico Cartabia
11 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Yahya Al-Ghassani
12 GK United Arab Emirates  UAE Hassan Hamza
13 DF Brazil  BRA Renan
15 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Abdullah Al-Naqbi
17 DF Serbia  SRB Bogdan Planić
18 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Hamdan Humaid U21
19 FW Brazil  BRA Mateusão U21
20 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Yousif Jaber
21 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Tareq Ahmed
No. Pos. Nation Player
23 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Abdulaziz Haikal
26 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Eid Khamis
27 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Khalid Mubarak
30 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Mohammed Jumaa
32 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Hamad Al-Qayodhi U21
37 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Ahmed Jamil
40 MF Serbia  SRB Luka Milivojević
44 GK United Arab Emirates  UAE Adel Fadaaq (on loan from Hatta)
50 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Saeed Suleiman
55 GK United Arab Emirates  UAE Majed Naser
57 FW United Arab Emirates  UAE Yuri César
61 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Bader Nasser
66 MF Iran  IRN Saeid Ezatolahi
77 FW United Arab Emirates  UAE Guilherme Bala
98 FW Mali  MLI Cheickna Doumbia U21
99 FW United Arab Emirates  UAE Igor Jesus

Unregistered players

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
22 GK Morocco  MAR Hamza Jlid U21
45 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Muhammad Atiq U21
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF Yemen  YEM Adel Al Chadli

Out on loan

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
3 DF Brazil  BRA Kayque Campos (on loan to Hatta)
14 DF United Arab Emirates  UAE Sultan Al-Zaabi (on loan to Al-Wahda)
16 FW Iran  IRN Mehdi Ghayedi (on loan to Ittihad Kalba)
24 MF United Arab Emirates  UAE Sultan Ali U21 (on loan to Hatta)
No. Pos. Nation Player
39 MF Brazil  BRA Gustavo (on loan to Ittihad Kalba)
GK United Arab Emirates  UAE Rayed Reda (on loan to Al Dhafra)
FW United Arab Emirates  UAE Sultan Adil U21 (on loan to Ittihad Kalba)
MF Yemen  YEM Khaled Al-Asbahi (on loan to Hatta)

Shabab Al Ahli from Board Of Directors

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

Board members

  • 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 Directors

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

Board Members

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


30 Official [11] Championships

Domestic Competitions

Continental competitions

See also


  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. 11 November 2015. 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. ^ "Shabab Al Ahli win 2021 UAE Beach Soccer League!". Beach Soccer Worldwide. 7 May 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  9. ^ "Al Ahli football club sign ground-breaking agreement with Spain's La Liga through 2018 | The National". Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  10. ^
  11. ^ ONLY Al-Ahli since rebranding championships are counted

External links