|Full name||Al-Zawra'a Sports Club|
Al-Nawaris (The Gulls)|
Al-Mulook (The Kings)
Al-Za'eem (The Boss)
Madrasat Al-Kora (School of Football)
|Founded||29 June 1969as Al-Muwasalat|
|Ground||Al-Zawra'a Stadium, Baghdad, Iraq|
|League||Iraqi Premier League|
|2015–16||Iraqi Premier League, 1st|
|Website||Club home page|
Al-Zawra'a Sports Club (Arabic: نادي الزوراء الرياضي) is an Iraqi sports club based in Utayfia, Karkh District, West Districts of the Tigris River, Baghdad. Their football team compete in the Iraqi Premier League, the top-flight of Iraqi football. Al-Zawra'a are considered to be one of the biggest clubs in Iraq having won 13 league titles, more than any other Iraqi team, and having never been relegated. They won their 13th title in the 2015–16 season and did so without losing a single league game, which was the fourth time that they had won the league unbeaten. They also hold the record for the most Iraq FA Cups (with 14), the joint-record for the most Umm Al-Ma'arik Cups (with three) and the record for the most Iraqi Super Cups (with three). They are also one of only two teams to have won all four of the aforementioned trophies in the same season (the 1999–2000 season), and they hold the Iraqi record for most consecutive league matches undefeated (39 matches, from 1993 to 1994).
However, Al-Zawra'a have failed to replicate their domestic dominance on the continental stage, failing to achieve a single major continental honour; the only existing Iraqi clubs to have done so are two of their fiercest rivals, Al-Shorta and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya. Their best continental achievements include finishing fourth at the 1996–97 Asian Club Championship and finishing as runners-up of the 1999–2000 Asian Cup Winners' Cup where they lost the final to Japanese club Shimizu S-Pulse. Since the AFC Champions League was formed in 2002, Al-Zawra'a have never advanced past the group stages of the tournament, although they have reached the round of 16 at the AFC Cup and the Arab Club Championship twice each.
1969–1980: Three promotions followed by two doubles
Al-Zawra'a were founded on 29 June 1969 as Al-Muwasalat, which means 'Transportation'. Three years later, they were renamed to Al-Zawra'a which has been their name ever since. In the 1972–73 season, Al-Zawra'a were promoted from the Iraqi fourth division into the third division, and in 1973–74 they were promoted from the third division into the second division. In the 1974–75 season, Al-Zawra'a managed their third successive promotion, being promoted into the Iraqi National League for the first time in their history. A club named Al-Naqil (meaning 'Transport') were the runners-up of the 1974–75 Iraqi National League, but after the season they had no administration and financial backing so Al-Naqil folded. Al-Naqil's players, who were just one point away from winning the 1974–75 Iraqi National League, thus joined fellow Ministry of Transport team and newly promoted side Al-Zawra'a. This meant that Al-Zawra'a became one of the strongest clubs in Iraq right from their first season in the top-flight of Iraqi football, which was the 1975–76 season. Al-Zawra'a managed to win the league title in their very first season, finishing five points ahead from runners-up Al-Tayaran (now called Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya), who would soon become Al-Zawra'a's biggest rivals. They also won the Iraq FA Cup that season, thrashing Al-Baladiyat 5–0 in the final, to secure the double.
In the 1976–77 Iraqi National League, Al-Zawra'a managed to retain their title, winning the league undefeated with a record of nine wins and two draws. The 1977–78 season saw Al-Zawra'a finish as runners-up in the league for the first time, ending up two points behind champions Al-Mina'a, meanwhile in the 1977–78 Iraq FA Cup, Al-Zawra'a were knocked out in the quarter-final meaning they had their first trophyless season since their promotion to the top-flight. The 1978–79 Iraqi National League saw Al-Zawra'a win the league undefeated again, winning seven and drawing five, and they also won the Iraq FA Cup with a 3–1 win against Al-Jaish to secure their second double. Al-Zawra'a were very close to winning the league in the 1979–80 season as well; if they had defeated Al-Shabab in their last league game, they would have won the league, but they drew 1–1 and handed the title to Baghdad rivals Al-Shorta, finishing behind them on goal difference. They also failed to win the Iraq FA Cup that season, losing the semi-final to Al-Talaba.
1981–1990: Failure to win a single league in a decade
The 1980s was the worst decade in the history of Al-Zawra'a as they failed to win a single league title. The decade started with the 1980–81 Iraqi National League where Al-Zawra'a finished in a lowly seventh, however they did win their third Iraq FA Cup by beating Al-Talaba 1–0 in the final. They finished fifth in 1981–82 but once again won the Iraq FA Cup, beating Al-Talaba 2–1 this time. In 1982–83, Al-Zawra'a finished seventh again, and they ended up fifth in 1983–84, although they managed to win the Al-Intisar Cup that season. The 1984–85 season was cancelled with Al-Zawra'a in eighth position, and the 1985–86 season was one of the worst in Al-Zawra'a's history as they finished in ninth, just one point away from the relegation playoff, although they did win their second Al-Intisar Cup. They finished in seventh in 1986–87 and fifth in 1987–88, and lost the 1987–88 Iraq FA Cup final on penalties to Al-Rasheed. Al-Zawra'a improved in the 1988–89 season as they finished fourth in the league and won the Iraq FA Cup for the fifth time, and they also participated in, and won, the first ever ACC Club Championship (organised by the Arab Cooperation Council). They did exactly the same in the following season finishing fourth again, winning the Iraq FA Cup again and winning the ACC Club Championship again. Their cup win qualified them to the 1990 Arab Club Champions Cup but the tournament eventually got abandoned; Al-Zawra'a played two games in the preliminary round of the tournament, drawing the first and winning the second.
1991–2000: Six league titles and eight FA Cups
The 1990s was a much better decade for Al-Zawra'a. They were crowned champions of Iraq for the fourth time in 1990–91 and also won yet another Iraq FA Cup to secure another double. Al-Zawra'a finished as runners-up in the 1991–92 Iraqi National League and were knocked out of the 1991–92 Iraq FA Cup at the round of 32 stage, but they did win the first ever edition of the Umm Al-Ma'arik Cup that season by defeating rivals Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in the final. The 1992–93 Iraqi National League saw Al-Zawra'a finish as runners-up again, but they won another Iraq FA Cup by beating Al-Talaba.
The next three seasons were three of the best in Al-Zawra'a's history; they won three consecutive doubles in 1993–94, 1994–95 and 1995–96. They also participated in their first ever AFC tournaments, being knocked out in the first round of the 1993–94 Asian Cup Winners' Cup and the second round of the 1995 Asian Club Championship. Al-Zawra'a did not win any trophies in the 1996–97 season as their rivals Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya won all four domestic trophies. However, they did reach the furthest they ever reached in the Asian Club Championship in 1996–97 as they reached the semi-finals. They lost the semi-final and also lost the third place match to finish in fourth in Asia's main tournament. In 1997–98, Al-Zawra'a were in with a chance of winning the league on the final day but ended up finishing third after drawing their final match to Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 1–1. However, they did manage to win the Iraq FA Cup again, and followed that up by winning their first Al-Muthabara Cup with a 1–0 win over league champions Al-Shorta. In the 1997–98 Asian Club Championship, Al-Zawra'a reached the second round before being knocked out.
The following two seasons (1998–99 and 1999–2000) brought even more success to Al-Zawra'a as they continued their domination of Iraqi football. They won the double in both seasons, and also won the Umm Al-Ma'arik Cup, Al-Muthabara Cup, Al-Quds International Championship and Al-Sha'ab Friendship Tournament across the two campaigns. They also reached the final of the 1999–2000 Asian Cup Winners' Cup, the furthest that they have ever reached in a major continental competition, but lost 1–0 to Shimizu S-Pulse, a club from Japan.
2001–present: Ups and downs after the war
As champions, Al-Zawra'a qualified for the 2000–01 Asian Club Championship but were knocked out in the first round. Al-Zawra'a won their third consecutive league title in 2000–01 and also won the Al-Muthabara Cup, but they lost the 2000 Umm Al-Ma'arik Cup final 1–0 to Al-Shorta. In the 2001–02 Iraqi Elite League, Al-Zawra'a finished in a disappointing fourth place, and reached the second round of the 2001–02 Asian Club Championship as well as losing the final of the Baghdad Challenge Cup. They disappointed again in the following season, finishing in fourth for the second consecutive time, and losing to Al-Sadd in 2002–03 AFC Champions League qualification. The 2003–04 Iraqi Premier League was not completed, but the Umm Al-Ma'arik Cup was, and Al-Zawra'a won the tournament for the third and final time. In the 2003–04 Arab Champions League, Al-Zawra'a were knocked out at the round of 16, but they did manage to win the 2004 Tishreen Cup by beating Al-Talaba in the final. Al-Zawra'a yet again finished in fourth position in the 2004–05 Iraqi Premier League and were knocked out at the group stage of the 2005 AFC Champions League as well as losing the final of the 2005 edition of the Damascus International Championship to Al-Talaba. In the 2005–06 season, Al-Zawra'a secured their 11th league title by defeating Al-Najaf via a penalty shootout after a goalless draw, but in the 2005–06 Arab Champions League they were comfortably defeated over two legs by MC Algiers in the round of 16. The next four seasons (2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09 and 2009–10) saw Al-Zawra'a finish in eighth, second, seventh and third respectively. Meanwhile, in this time period they also played in two AFC competitions: the 2007 AFC Champions League (knocked out in the group stage) and the 2009 AFC Cup (knocked out in the round of 16 by Erbil).
In 2010–11, they returned to the top of Iraqi football by winning their 12th league title after a penalty shootout win over Erbil. This qualified them to the 2012 AFC Cup but they were again knocked out in the round of 16. The 2011–12 Iraqi Premier League saw them make their worst defence of a title in their history as they finished in eighth position, behind Al-Shorta. The 2012–13 Iraqi Premier League saw them move up to fourth, and they were also knocked out of the 2012–13 Iraq FA Cup by Al-Talaba at the round of 32 stage. In 2013–14 they fell back down to sixth and they dropped back down to eighth in 2014–15, although they did win a friendly cup called the Baghdad Cup. They managed to recover from these disappointing seasons in the 2015–16 campaign and won the league title without losing a single league match, finishing ahead of runners-up Naft Al-Wasat in what was their 13th league title. They also reached the final of the 2015–16 Iraq FA Cup but were defeated 2–0 by fierce rivals Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, missing out on the chance to win their 15th Iraq FA Cup title. Their manager in this season, Basim Qasim, resigned from the club following the title-winning campaign and decided to manage Al-Zawra'a's biggest rivals, Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, in the 2016–17 season. As champions, Al-Zawra'a have qualified for the 2016 Iraqi Super Cup (previously known as Al-Muthabara Cup) which will be played in August.
Al-Zawra'a currently do not have a stadium. Their old stadium, Al-Zawra'a Stadium, has been demolished to make way for New Al-Zawra'a Stadium which is currently under construction. Al-Zawra'a play all their derby matches against Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, Al-Shorta and Al-Talaba at Al-Sha'ab Stadium in order to accommodate more spectators.
Ultras The Kings
Ultras The Kings is the name of the ultras group of Al-Zawra'a fans. The group was founded in response to the foundations and successes of the Ultras Green Harp (Al-Shorta) and Ultras Blue Hawks (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya) groups. The ultras group use flares, banners and flags in order to create a good atmosphere during matches.
The current squad for the 2016–17 season.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For a list of all Al-Zawraa players, see List of Al-Zawraa players'
- As of 2 December 2016
|Radhi Shenaishel||13 August 2007||1 September 2008||13||8||2||3||61.54|
|Radhi Shenaishel||8 September 2010||16 August 2011||27||19||6||2||70.37|
|Radhi Shenaishel||26 March 2012||3 February 2014||62||28||18||16||45.16|
|Emad Mohammed||6 October 2014||30 June 2015||22||9||5||8||40.91|
|Basim Qasim||21 July 2015||9 June 2016||30||20||9||1||66.67|
|Thair Ahmed||14 June 2016||1 November 2016||6||2||2||2||33.33|
|Essam Hamad||3 November 2016||present||2||1||0||1||50.00|
- Iraqi Premier League: (13)
- 1976, 1977, 1979, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016
- Iraq FA Cup Winners: (14)
- 1975/1976, 1978/1979, 1980/1981, 1981/1982, 1988/1989, 1989/1990, 1990/1991, 1992/1993, 1993/1994, 1994/1995, 1995/1996, 1997/1998, 1998/1999, 1999/2000
Runner Ups(2): 1987/1988, 2015/2016
- Baghdad Championship Winners: (3)
- 1991, 1999, 2003
- Iraqi Super Cup Winners: (3)
- 1998, 1999, 2000
- Al-Intisar Cup Winners: (2)
- 1984, 1986
- Baghdad Friendly Cup Winners: (1)
- Arab Cooperation Council Championship Winners: (2)
- 1989, 1990
- Tishreen Cup Winners: (1)
- Al-Quds International Championship Winners: (1)
- Al-Sha'ab Friendship Tournament Winners: (1)
Al-Zawra'a in the Iraqi League
Performance in AFC competitions
- AFC Champions League: 3 appearances
- AFC Cup: 2 appearances
Asian Club Championship
Asian Cup Winners Cup
- The following players have played in the FIFA Confederations Cup whilst playing for Al-Zawra'a:
- 2009 – Mohammed Gassid