Al Ain FC

For the Formula team, see Al Ain (Superleague Formula team).
Full name Al-Ain Football Club
نادي العين لكرة القدم
Nickname(s) زعيم
Founded August 1968 (1968)
Ground Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium
Ground Capacity 22,717
President Mohammed Bin Zayed
Manager Zlatko Dalić
League UAE Pro-League
2015–16 UAE Pro-League, 2nd
Website Club home page

Al-Ain Football Club (Arabic: نادي العين لكرة القدم; transliterated: Nady al-'Ayn) or Al-Ain FC or simply Al-Ain is a professional football club, based in the city of Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It is one of many sport sections of the multi-sports club Al Ain Sports and Cultural Club (Arabic: نادي العين الرياضي الثقافي) Al Ain SCC for short.

The club was founded in 1968 by players from Al Ain, members of a Bahraini group of exchange students and the Sudanese community working in the United Arab Emirates.[1]

Al Ain is by far the most successful club in the UAE.[2] The team quickly gained popularity and recognition throughout the country, being the team with the most tournament titles (33 in total).[3] Al Ain has won a record 12 [UAE Arabian Gulf League] titles, 6 President's Cups, 3 Federation Cups, 1 Arabian Gulf Cup, a record 5 Super Cups, two Abu Dhabi Championship Cups, one Joint League Cup, Emirati-Moroccan Super Cup, Gulf Club Champions Cup and AFC Champions League. The club is the first and only UAE side so far to win the AFC Champions League.[4]


Foundation and early years

In 1971, a group of young men learned the rules of the game by watching British soldiers playing football and formed their own team. The first pitch was very simple and small, taking the shape of a square sandy plot of land on the main street near the Clock Roundabout in Al Ain.[5]

In August 1971, the club was officially established, taking its name from that of the city. The founders thought it was necessary to have a permanent headquarters for the club and rented a house on the current Khalifa Road for club meetings. The club's founders took responsibility for all the club's affairs, from planning the stadium to cleaning the club headquarters and washing the kit.[5] Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was approached for assistance and he provided the club with a permanent headquarters in the Al Jahili district and a Land Rover to serve the club and the team.[6] Al Ain made a successful debut by beating a team made up of British soldiers and went on to play friendly matches against other Abu Dhabi clubs. In 1971, the team played their first match against international opposition when they were defeated 7–1 by the Egyptian club Ismaily in a friendly match for the war effort. In 1971, a group members of the club (Hadher Khalaf Al Muhairi, Saleem Al Khudhrawi, Mohammed Khalaf Al Muhairi and Mahmoud Fadhlullah) broke away and founded Al Tadhamun Club.[7] In 1971, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan provided the club with new headquarters with modern specifications: the Khalifa Stadium in Al Sarooj district.[6] In 1972, Al Ain a friendly in the UAE against the leading Brazilian team São Paulo ended in a 13–0 win for the South American visitors. In 1974 Al Ain combined with the breakaway Al Tadhamun, to form the Al Ain Sports Club. The first board of directors of the club was formed after the merger under the chairmanship Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri.[7]

The founders were Mohammed Saleh Bin Badooh and Khalifa Nasser Al Suwaidi, Saeed Bin Ghannoum Al Hameli, Abdullah Hazzam, Salem Hassan Al Muhairi, Abdullah and Mane'a Ajlan, Abdullah Al Mansouri, Saeed Al Muwaisi, Nasser Dhaen, Abdullah Matar, Juma Al Najem, Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Ibrahim Rasool and Ali Al Maloud and Ali Bu Majeed, who were the members of the Bahraini group of exchange students, and Ma'moun Abdul Qader, Mahmoud Fadhlullah, Al Fateh Al Talb, Hussain Al Meerghani and Abbas Ali from the Sudanese community working in the UAE.[1]

First titles and Entry to the Football League (1974–1997)

In February 1974, the club won its first title, the Abu Dhabi League. On 13 November 1974, Sheikh Khalifa was named honorary president of Al Ain, in recognition of his continuing support for the club.[7] On 21 May 1975, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected Chairman of Board of Directors. In 1975, Al Ain won its second Abu Dhabi League[8] In the same year on 21 March 1975, the club played its first UAE President Cup losing 4–5 on penalties in the Round of 16 against Al Shaab after drawing 1–1 in normal time. In 1975–76 season, the team participated for the first time in the UAE Football League, finishing runners-up behind Al Ahli. Al Ain won its first League title in the 1976–77 season, after drawing 1–1 with Al Sharjah in the last match. In the following season, they finished runners-up to Al Nasr; Mohieddine Habita was the top scorer with 20 goals. In the 1978–79 season, Al Ain secure third place with 27 points in the league and defeated by Al Sharjah in the President Cup final.

Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan became president of Al Ain on 19 January 1979. Al Ain won the League again in the 1980–81 season and lost the President Cup final to Al Shabab of Dubai. In 1983–84, the team won Joint League Cup and followed with its third League title, becoming the second with Al Ahli to have won the championship three times. The team had the strongest attack with 35 goals, and Ahmed Abdullah, with 20 goals was the joint-winner of the Arab League Golden Boot award for top corer, alongside Al Wasl striker Fahad Khamees. This season was the first season in which foreign players were excluded from the UAE League, a restriction which was opposed by Al Ain. The team were eliminated in the ualifying stages of the 1986 Asian Club Championship. After winning the League title in 1983–84 season, Al Ain failed to win any trophies till 1989 when they won the Federation Cup. In the following year they reached the final of the President Cup, losing to Al Shabab.

The 1992–93 season began with several new signings: Saif Sultan (Ittihad Kalba), Salem Johar (Ajman), Majed Al Owais (Al Thaid), Saeed Juma (Emirates). Al Ain won their fourth League title with three games left to play, after a 5–0 win at Al Khaleej. In the following season, they finished second in the Football League and were runners-up the 1993 UAE Super Cup losing 2–1 against Al Shaab of Sharjah. They also reached the President Cup final but were beaten 1–0 by Al Shabab, failing for the fourth time to win the Cup. In 1994 and 1995, Al Ain lost two President Cup finals, finished second in the League, won the 1995 UAE Super Cup and lost out in the Asian Cup Winners' Cup second round to the Kuwaiti team Kazma. In the 1996–97 season, Al Ain were eliminated in the round of 16 of the President Cup by Hatta of Dubai and finished fourth in the Football League.

The Golden Age (1997–2003)

Before the start of the 1997–98 season, the honorary board was formed on 7 June 1997.[9] After this important quantum leap, Al Ain won the league championship. In the following season, they won the President Cup and finished runner-up in the league and secured the third place in their second appearance in Asian Club Championship, after the 1985. Ilie Balaci took charge in 1999. He led them to their sixth League championship, while in the Asian Cup Winners' Cup they were eliminated by Al Jaish on the away goals rule in the first round.

In 2003, Al Ain contested the AFC Champions League competition. In the Group stage they won all three matches, beating Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, Al Sadd of Qatar and Esteghlal of Iran. In the semi-final they were matched against the Chinese side Dalian Shide over two legs. In the first game, Al Ain won 4–2 at home, with Boubacar Sanogo scoring twice. In the return match in China Al Ain went 4–2 down with six minutes to play but won 7–6 on aggregate after a late goal by Farhad Majidi. The final saw Al Ain face BEC Tero Sasana of Thailand. In the home leg, Al Ain prevailed 2–0 with goals from Salem Johar and Mohammad Omar. At the Rajamangala Stadium on 11 October, Al Ain were beaten 1–0 by Tero Sasano, but won 2–1 on aggregate to become the first Emirati club to win the Champions League.


Hazza Bin Zayed
Capacity 25,000
Field size 45 m × 50 m (148 ft × 164 ft)
Opened 14 January 2014 (2014-01-14)
Architect Pattern Design Limited (2014)

Al Ain first playground was set up on the main street near the Clock Roundabout. Took the shape of a square sandy plot of land.[10]

Al Ain owns three home ground, Tahnoun bin Mohammed, Sheikh Khalifa International, Hazza Bin Zayed which opened on 14 January 2014.

Crest and colours

The Al Jahili Castle is considered as a symbol of the club, because it reflects the history of the city and also was the formal home of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan since 1946 when he was a ruler's representative. It officially became a crest for the club in 1980.[11]

The team began playing in green and white in 1968. After merging with Al Tadhamun in 1974, their red color became Al Ain's from season 1974–75 till the start of season 1976–77. During the first team training camp in Morocco in 1977, a friendly tournament was held by Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca with the Nice, Sporting CP, and Anderlecht. Al Ain admired Anderlecht's purple colors, and an idea came to change Al Ain's colors to purple. The idea was presented to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, who agreed to change the club colors officially to the purple with the beginning of the season 1977–78.[12]


As of UAE Arabian Gulf League:

No Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Khalifah Khaled      United Arab Emirates
17 Goalkeeper Khalid Eisa      United Arab Emirates
22 Goalkeeper Mahmoud Almas      United Arab Emirates
36 Goalkeeper Dawoud Sulaiman      United Arab Emirates

2 Defender Ali Mostafa      United Arab Emirates
4 Defender Saeed Mosabah      United Arab Emirates
5 Defender Ismail Ahmed (vice-captain)     United Arab Emirates
15 Defender Khaled Abdulrahman      United Arab Emirates
19 Defender Mohanad Salem      United Arab Emirates
21 Defender Fawzi Fayez      United Arab Emirates
23 Defender Mohamed Ahmed      United Arab Emirates
25 Defender Abdullah Fahem      United Arab Emirates
31 Defender Ahmed Al−Farsi      United Arab Emirates
37 Defender Rashed Muhayer      United Arab Emirates
50 Defender Mohammed Fayez (third captain)     United Arab Emirates

6 Midfielder Amer Abdulrahman      United Arab Emirates
7 Midfielder Caio      Brazil
8 Midfielder Rashed Eisa      United Arab Emirates
10 Midfielder Omar Abdulrahman (captain)     United Arab Emirates
13 Midfielder Ahmed Barman      United Arab Emirates
16 Midfielder Mohammed Abdulrahman      United Arab Emirates
18 Midfielder Ibrahim Diaky      United Arab Emirates
27 Midfielder Mohsen Abdullah      United Arab Emirates
29 Midfielder Lee Myung-Joo      South Korea
43 Midfielder Rayan Yaslam      United Arab Emirates
70 Midfielder Danilo Asprilla      Colombia
77 Midfielder Bandar Al-Ahbabi      United Arab Emirates
79 Midfielder Hussain Abdullah      United Arab Emirates

9 Forward Dyanfres Douglas      Brazil
11 Forward Saeed Al Katheeri      United Arab Emirates
26 Forward Khaled Khalvan      United Arab Emirates
35 Forward Yousef Ahmed      United Arab Emirates
52 Forward Ali Eid      United Arab Emirates


Current technical staff

Position Name
First team head coach Croatia Zlatko Dalić
Assistant coach Croatia Borimir Perković
Bosnia and Herzegovina Anel Karabeg
Goalkeeping coach England David Rouse
Fitness coach Croatia Frano Leko
Club doctor Croatia Jurica Rakic
Nutritionist Morocco Mohsen Belhoz
Physiotherapist Croatia Ivica Orsolic
Croatia Marin Polonijo
Croatia Bozo Sinkovic
Egypt Abdul Nasser Al Juhani
U-21 team head coach Croatia Joško Španjić
Team Manager United Arab Emirates Matar Obaid Al Sahbani
Team Supervisor United Arab Emirates Mohammed Obeid Hammad
Team Administrator United Arab Emirates Essam Abdulla
Director of football United Arab Emirates Sultan Rashed

Last updated: August 2016
Source: Al Ain FC


President United Arab Emirates Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Vice President United Arab Emirates Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Chairman of Board of Directors United Arab Emirates Ghanem Mubarak Al Hajeri
Vice Chairman of Board of Directors United Arab Emirates Ahmed Humaid Al Mazroui
Board of Directors Member United Arab Emirates Mohammed Obeid Hammad
Board of Directors Member United Arab Emirates Sultan Rashed Al Kalbani
Board of Directors Member United Arab Emirates Ali Msarri Al Dhaheri
Honorary President United Arab Emirates Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Last updated: August 2016
Source: Al Ain FC


32 official Championships

Domestic competitions

Winners (12) (record): 1976–77, 1980–81, 1983–84, 1992–93, 1997–98, 1999–00, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15
Runners-up (8):[15] 1975–76, 1977–78, 1981–82, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1998–99, 2004–05, 2015–16
Winners (6): 1999, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2014
Runners-up (7): 1979, 1981, 1990, 1994, 1995, 2007, 2016
Winners (3): 1989, 2005, 2006
Winners (1): 2008–09
Runners-up (1): 2010–11
Winners (5) (record): 1995, 2003, 2009, 2012, 2015
Runners-up (3):1993, 2002, 2013
Winners (2): 1974, 1975
Winners (1): 1983

Gulf competitions

Winners (1) : 2001

Asian competitions

Winners (1) : 2003
Runners-up (2) : 2005, 2016


Winners (1): 2015

Managerial history

No. Nationality Head coach From Until Honours
1 United Arab Emirates Nasser Dhaen (No such name in FIFA)* 19681971
2 Egypt Abdel Aziz Hammami 19711973
3 Syria Ahmed Hajeer 19731976
4 Tunisia Hamid Dhib 19761976
5 Syria Ahmed Alyan 19761979 1 Championship
6 Tunisia Abdelmajid Chetali 19791980
7 Morocco Ahmed Nagah 19801982 1 Championship
8 Brazil Nelsinho Rosa 19821984 1 Championship
9 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Milian Milianich 19841986
10 Brazil Jair Picerni 19861986
11 Brazil João Francisco 19861988
12 Brazil Zé Mario 19881990 1 Federation Cup
13 Algeria Mahieddine Khalef 19901992
14 Egypt Yusri Abdul Ghani 19921992
15 Brazil Amarildo 19921995 1 Championship
16 Egypt Shaker Abdel-Fattah 19951995 1 Supercup
17 Argentina Ángel Marcos 19951996
18 Brazil Lori Sandri 19961996
19 Brazil Cabralzinho 19971997
20 Egypt Shaker Abdel-Fattah 19971998 1 Championship
21 Portugal Nelo Vingada 19981999 1 President's Cup
22 Romania Ilie Balaci 19992000 1 Championship
23 Argentina Oscar Fulloné 20002000
24 Tunisia Mrad Mahjoub 20002001 1 Gulf Club Champions Cup
25 Romania Anghel Iordănescu 20012002 1 President's Cup
26 United Arab Emirates Ahmed Abdullah* 20022002
27 Bosnia and Herzegovina Jamal Haji Jan 20022002 1 Championship

No. Nationality Head coach From Until Honours
28 France Bruno Metsu Aug 2002May 2004 2 Championships,
1 Champions League,
1 Supercup
29 France Alain Perrin July 2004Oct 2004
30 Tunisia Mohammad El Mansi* Oct 2004Jan 2005 1 Federation Cup
31 Czech Republic Milan Máčala Jan 2005Jan 2006 1 President's Cup
32 Tunisia Mohammad El Mansi* 20062006 1 President's Cup,
1 Federation Cup
33 Romania Anghel Iordănescu June 2006Dec 2006
34 Netherlands Tiny Ruys* 20062007
35 Italy Walter Zenga Jan 2007June 2007
36 Brazil Tite July 2007Dec 2007
37 Germany Winfried Schäfer 2007Dec 2009 1 Cup,
1 President's Cup,
1 Supercup
38 Morocco Rasheed Mahmoud* Dec 2009Dec 2009
39 Brazil Toninho Cerezo Dec 2009April 2010
40 United Arab Emirates Abdul Hameed Al Mistaki* April 2010Dec 2010
41 United Arab Emirates Ahmed Abdullah* 20102010
42 Brazil Alexandre Gallo 21 Dec 20106 June 2011
43 Romania Cosmin Olăroiu 6 June 20116 July 2013 2 Championships,
1 Supercup
44 Uruguay Jorge Fossati 29 July 201313 Sept 2013
45 United Arab Emirates Ahmed Abdullah* 13 Sept 201327 Sept 2013
46 Spain Quique Sánchez Flores 27 Sept 20138 March 2014
47 Croatia Zlatko Dalić 8 March 2014present 1 Championship,
1 President's Cup,
1 Supercup

* Served as caretaker coach.

Top scorers

Note: this includes goals scored in all competitions.[17]

No. Nationality Player Goals
1 United Arab Emirates Ahmed Abdullah 180
2 Ghana Asamoah Gyan 128
3 United Arab Emirates Matar Al Sahbani 93
4 Tunisia Mohieddine Habita 71
5 United Arab Emirates Majid Al Owais 70
6 United Arab Emirates Salem Johar 60
7 United Arab Emirates Saif Sultan 55
8 United Arab Emirates Abdul Hameed Al Mistaki 45


  1. 1 2 "club Foundation3". Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  2. "Al Ain look to the future". Fifa.
  3. "40 years of UAE Football". EmaratAlYoum.
  4. "Al Ain "The Boss" with 58 titles". EmaratAlYoum.
  5. 1 2 "The Beginning". Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  6. 1 2 "club Foundation4". Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  7. 1 2 3 "club Foundation5". Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  8. "club Foundation – 2". Archived from the original on 27 March 2005. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  9. "The honorary board". (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 11 December 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  10. "first playground". Archived from the original on 1 August 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  11. "Club Emblem" (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 11 May 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  12. "The Purple Story". (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Club Milestones". Al Ain FC.
  14. "List of Cup Winners". RSSSF.
  15. "List of Champions". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 26 January 2014.
  16. "Joint League" (in Arabic).
  17. "Top Scorers". Archived from the original on 20 January 2004. Retrieved 17 July 2014.

External links

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Preceded by
Suwon Samsung Bluewings
South Korea
Champions of Asia
Succeeded by
Saudi Arabia
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