Iraqi Premier League 2013-14 Champions
Iraqi Premier League 2012-13 Champions

Al Shorta - الشرطة

Al Qeetharah (The Harps) - القيثارة

History

Al Shorta were founded on November 14th 1932, and are the third-oldest team in Iraq. They were founded under the name 'Montakhab Al Shorta' (Police XI) and this name lasted until 1962. In Montakhab Al Shorta's early years, the squad was formed of policemen in Iraq who were chosen to represent the Iraqi Police force in football tournaments. The first three tournaments that they competed in were the 1932-33, 1933-34 and 1934-35 editions of the Prince Ghazi Cup, but they failed to win any of them.


Al Shorta have won 23 trophies since their foundation. The first of them came in 1938, when Montakhab Al Shorta won the Taha Hashemi Cup after defeating Al Quwa Al Jawiya 1-0. Montakhab Al Shorta then defeated Al Quwa Al Jawiya again a year later, this time it was 2-0. This game was the final of the Al Quwa Al Jawiya Cup, a tournament created by themselves. In the same year, Montakhab Al Shorta crushed Al Karkh 5-1 in the final of the Olympic Club Cup to secure their third piece of silverware in two years.


In 1962, Montakhab Al Shorta became Aliyat Al Shorta (Police Machinery) and they were organised under the Police Games Directorate (up until the formation of the club as a sports club in 1974). It was during their time as Aliyat Al Shorta that the club were most successful, winning six League of the Institutes titles in the space of ten years. The first came in the 1962-63 season, with the sixth coming in the 1971-72 season. In 1971, Aliyat Al Shorta reached the final of the Asian Champion Club Tournament and were set to face Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv. However, Aliyat Al Shorta refused to play the Israeli side for political reasons and therefore automatically lost the game.


In 1974, Aliyat Al Shorta merged with the other two Police teams in Iraq (Shorta Al Najda and Kuliya Al Shorta) to form the sports club of Al Shorta, the only club representing the Iraqi Police force today. The first trophy Al Shorta won since the change was in 1976 when they won the 1976 Arab Police Quartet Championship. 1978 saw them win it again but the tournament was under the new name of 'Arab Police Championship Cup'. Al Shorta won the tournament for the third and final time in 1985. A year later, they competed in the Saddam International Tournament but disappointingly failed to advance past the group stages.


In between the two Arab Police Championship Cup triumphs was an even bigger one. Al Shorta had reached the final of one of the biggest tournaments in Asia, the Arab Champions League in 1982, against Al Nejmeh, and defeated them 4-2 on aggregate. Al Shorta are one of only two Iraqi sides to win this tournament. The next year saw Al Shorta win another tournament outside of Iraq, the President's Gold Cup, in which they defeated Malaysia 2-0 in the final. After this triumph, the club changed its name from 'Al Shorta' to 'Quwat Al Emen Al Dakhili' (Internal Security Forces). However, this name only lasted until 1984 when the name was changed back to Al Shorta and it has remained the same ever since.


Al Shorta have reached the final of the Iraqi FA Cup on 5 occasions, however have lost every one. Al Shorta's first defeat was at the hands of Al Quwa Al Jawiya in 1977-78, and in 1995-96 Al Shorta lost the final to Al Zawraa. Another defeat to Al Quwa Al Jawiya followed the next season, and two consecutive 1-0 losses to Al Talaba in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons then occured.


Since the League of the Institutes was changed to the Iraqi Premier League, Al Shorta have won four league titles, coming in the 1979-80, 1997-98, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Furthermore, they were top of the league in the 2002-03 season but the competition was cancelled near the end, preventing Al Shorta from adding another league title to their long list of honours. By winning the Iraqi League of 1997-98, Al Shorta qualified for the Al Muthabara Cup (Super Cup). Here they would play Iraqi FA Cup champions Al Zawraa, however Al Shorta lost 1-0. By winning the 2012-13 Iraqi League, Al Shorta qualified for the 2014 AFC Cup, and they also entered the 2014 AFC Champions League qualifiers, but lost 1-0 to Al Kuwait S.C. in the first qualifying round.


Three domestic cups would soon follow the league triumph of 1998 as Al Shorta won the Umm Al Ma'arak (mother of all battles) Cup three times in a row (after losing the final in 1997). The first win came in 2000, when Amer Mushraf's goal led Al Shorta to a 1-0 win over Al Zawraa. Maher Habeeb's late goal in extra-time led Al Shorta to a win in the 2001-02 season over Al Talaba and Al Talaba would lose again to Al Shorta in the next edition of the tournament thanks to another Amer Mushraf goal.


After the 2002 Umm Al Ma'arak Cup success, Al Shorta competed in the Al-Quds International Championship, and won the tournament by defeating Al Najaf 1-0 in the final from a goal from Ahmed Hussein Adan. Al Shorta won yet another competition in 2013, the Baghdad Cup, by defeating Al Zawraa 1-0 in the final due to Hussein Kareem's goal.


Al Shorta have performed respectively in continental competitions of recent years, including coming in 4th place in the Algomhuria International Cup in 2004. They qualified to the AFC Champions League in both 2004 and 2005, but failed to get past the group stage in both tournaments, and they failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Champions League, losing their only qualifying match 1-0 to Al Kuwait S.C. As a result, they participated in the AFC Cup for the first time in their history in 2014 but, disappointingly, they were knocked out in the group stage. They also failed to get out of group stages in both the Asian Club Championship in 1999-00 and the Arab Champions League (Prince Faisal bin Fahd Tournament for Arab Clubs) in 2003. Al Shorta competed in the 1997-98 Asian Cup Winners' Cup and reached the quarter-finals of the tournament.


RECENT SEASONS


After starting the 2006-07 season brilliantly by being the only team to win all their games in the first group, including two victories over Al Quwa Al Jawiya, Al Shorta were eventually knocked out in the final (elite) stage of the competition.


In 2007-08 they topped their first group but finished 3rd in the final (elite) stage, one place away from the next round.


In 2008-09 they failed to get through Group A with a disappointing 8th place finish.


In 2009-10, Al Shorta were very close to the semi-finals. They were 2-0 up to Al Najaf knowing that a win would qualify them, but they drew the game 2-2 and Al Talaba qualified 1 point ahead of them. In this season they also managed to beat Erbil away from home 1-0; Al Talaba were the only other team who managed to do this.


In 2010-11, Al Shorta finished 8th in North Group, one place ahead of the relegation zone.


In the 2011-12 season, Al Shorta were on course for a top-four finish but a run of 6 losses in a row led them to 7th place in the Iraqi League.


Al Shorta had a fantastic 2012-13 season, winning the Iraqi Premier League for the first time since 1998 and losing just two games in the entire season. They clinched the league title on the last day of the season by beating Al Talaba 3-0, sparking wild celebrations in the national stadium. They also defeated Al Zawraa 1-0 to win the 2013 Baghdad Cup. As league champions, Al Shorta qualified for the AFC Cup for the first time in their history.


The 2013-14 season was another successful one for the club as they won their second league title in a row, albeit in totally different circumstances. After playing 21 games, they were top of the league with games in hand over most of the teams in the league but the competition was ended prematurely due to unrest in the country. The IFA decided that the standings were to remain the same, meaning that Al Shorta were the champions for the fourth time in their history; they will play in the 2015 AFC Champions League qualifiers and if they fail to qualify for the competition proper, they will participate in the AFC Cup for the second season running. They played in their first ever AFC Cup in this season but failed to advance past the group stages, playing out four goalless draws from six games.


FAMOUS PLAYERS AND COACHES


Al Shorta have had many talented and famous Iraqi players play for the club before. One of the most famous players to play for Al Shorta was a man considered by many as one of the greatest ever players to play in the Iraqi League, Hashim Ridha, who had four different spells with the club. The striker was the Iraqi League top scorer in the 1998-99 and 2001-02 seasons, scoring many famous and brilliant goals. He returned to the club for the last time in the 2010-11 season, scoring one goal in his final spell against Al Ramadi in a 2-1 loss. He finally retired in 2013, and had a retirement ceremony before a match between Al Shorta and Al Zawraa (two of his former clubs). The ceremony included a mini-testimonial match, in which Hashim Ridha scored a goal for Al Shorta.


Emad Hashim, the goalkeeper who appeared 75 times in the Iraqi national team shirt, played for Al Shorta for 14 years, winning many trophies for the club. Players such as Basem Qasem, Raad Hammoudi, Fatah Nsaief and Shaker Mahmoud played for Iraq in the 1986 FIFA World Cup and are regarded as legends for Al Shorta, along with Saad Qais, who had two different spells with Al Shorta. Yunes Abed Ali and Mohammed Tabra, both recent Al Shorta managers, also played for the club. Yunes Abed Ali is Al Shorta's all-time top goalscorer and was the Iraqi League's top scorer in the 1993-94 season with 36 goals, the highest amount of goals a player has ever scored in one league season. He has scored the fourth most goals in Iraqi League history with a total of 153 league goals. Another legend is late defender and former Iraq captain Abid Kadhim. Abid is the most-capped player in Al Shorta's history and one of Iraq's best ever players. He was a leader on the pitch, leading Aliyat Al Shorta to a number of League of Institutes titles in the 1960's and winning both the 1966 Arab Nations Cup and the 1972 World Military Cup with Iraq. He also coached Al Shorta to the 1985 Arab Police Championship Cup title, further cementing his place as an Al Shorta legend.


Some more recent famous players to play for Al Shorta are Khaldoon Ibrahim (an AFC Asian Cup winner), and Iraq national team stars Samal Saeed and his brother Samer as well as forward Mustafa Kareem. However, the most famous player to play for the club that still plays football now is Nashat Akram, who started his senior career with Al Shorta and has played 114 times for Iraq. 'The Maestro' rejoined Al Shorta in 2013 and captained the club to a third league title in his second spell before leaving the club and joining Chinese side Dalian Aerbin. During his two spells at Al Shorta, he scored 20 goals. Current Al Shorta forward Amjad Kalaf is also considered to be a legend by many fans, after saving the club from relegation in 2011 and scoring more league goals than any other Al Shorta player in the 2012-13 championship-winning season.


Al Shorta's most famous manager is Ammo Baba. He managed the club three times (in 1992, 1997 and 2002) in his 32-year managerial career and in 2002 he led the club to victory in the Umm Al Ma'arak Cup. Al Shorta was the last team he managed in his career. Former players such as Abid Kadhim, Basem Qasem, Yunes Abed Ali, Mohammed Tabra and Douglas Aziz have returned to manage the club, with the latter achieving both Iraqi League success and Arab Champions League success with Al Shorta. Wathik Naji and Anwar Jassam are examples of other coaches that are regarded as true legends to this club, as well as Thair Jasam, who coached Al Shorta to a first league title for fifteen years in 2013. Brazilian manager Lorival Santos, although not popular with all of the supporters, was the club's second ever foreign manager and the first ever foreign manager to win the Iraqi League with the club. He is also the second foreign manager to win the Iraqi League in the history of the competition.


PLAYER OF THE SEASONS


2013-14: Hamdy Al-Massri (Syria)

2012-13: Hussein Abdul Wahid (Iraq)

ULTRAS GREEN HARP


In 2012 (a few games into the 2012-13 season), Al Shorta fans founded a supporters group called 'Ultras Green Harp'. The number of members increased from day one, and the group's logos and banners can now be seen in every stadium that the club play in. The foundation of the Ultras Green Harp group has significantly increased both the number of Al Shorta fans in stadiums and their presence in matches, and the members of the group are now widely considered to be the most passionate group of fans in the Iraqi League. Ultras Green Harp have had two different logos in their history. The group's current logo is shown on the left and the group's first ever logo can be seen here.

FIVE INTERESTING FACTS


1. In 1968, a record number of Al Shorta players were called up to the Iraq national team. A total of eight different Al Shorta players had played so well in the league that they were all called up to the squad. These players included Abid Kadhim, Douglas Aziz, Tariq Aziz, Mudhafar Nouri, Latif Shandal, Satar Khalaf and Mahmoud Assad. The same number of players were called up to play for Iraq in October 2013, equalling the record. These players were Mohammed Hameed, Ali Bahjat, Dhirgham Ismail, Waleed Salem, Qusay Munir, Mahdi Kamil, Ammar Abdulhusain and Amjad Kalaf.


2. Al Shorta are one of only two teams to have ever finished an Iraqi League season without losing a single game; they achieved this in the 1980-81 season. The other team to have done this is Al Minaa who finished the season unbeaten in their championship-winning 1977-78 season.


3. In the 1979-80 season, Al Shorta became the first team to play 100 games in the Iraqi League (after its creation in 1974) with a 0-0 draw against Al Quwa Al Jawiya. In the 1984-85 season, they became the first team to play 200 games in the Iraqi League with a 1-1 draw against Al Sinaah, and in the 1988-89 season they became the first team to play 300 Iraqi League games, winning their 300th game by one goal to nil against Al Karkh. Al Shorta became the second team to play 1000 Iraqi League games when they drew 0-0 against Al Sinaah in the 2011-12 season; Al Quwa Al Jawiya were the team that had already played 1000 games at the time.


4. Al Shorta were ranked as the 35th best Asian club of the century (1901-2000), and the 154th best Asian club in the last decade (2001-2010) by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics).


5. Al Shorta were ranked as the 169th best club in the world by FIFA from 01/09/2001 to 30/08/2002.


LIST OF MANAGERS


Below is a list of all of Al Shorta's managers since they were founded as a sports club in 1974. All of the managers are Iraqi, unless stated otherwise.


Younis Hussein (1974-1975)

Abdul-Kadir Zeinal (1975-1979)

Douglas Aziz (1979-1982)

Rajko Menista (Yugoslavia, 1982-1983)

Abid Kadhim (1983)

Munthir Al Waadh (1983-1984)

Mohammed Tabra (1984)

Thamir Mushin and Wathiq Naji (1984-1985)

Mohammed Tabra (1985)

Abid Kadhim (1985-1987)

Douglas Aziz (1987-1989)

Mohammed Tabra (1989-1990)

Douglas Aziz (1990-1991)

Mohammed Tabra (1991-1992)

Faisal Aziz (1992)

Saad Jamil (1992)

Douglas Aziz (1992)

Ammo Baba (1992)

Mudhafar Nouri (1992-1993)

Basem Qasem and Muwafaq Hussein (1993-1994)

Saad Jamil (1994-1995)

Kadhim Al-Rubaie (1995-1996)

Mudhafar Nouri (1996)

Faisal Aziz (1996-1997)

Adnan Jafar (1997)

Ammo Baba (1997)

Abdelilah Abdul-Hamed and Ayoub Odisho (1997)

Abdelilah Abdul-Hamed (1997-1998)

Faisal Aziz (1998-1999)

Najih Humoud (1999, he was the Iraq manager at the time but was appointed by the IFA to manage Al Shorta in the 1999-00 Asian Club Championship)

Ahmed Radhi (1999-2001)

Yassin Amal (2001-2002)

Ammo Baba (2002)

Basem Qasem (2002)

Abdelilah Abdul-Hamed (2002-2003)

Hassan Farhan (2003)

Basem Qasem (2003-2004)

Yunes Abed Ali (2004-2005)

Salih Radhi (2005)

Hamed Salman (2005)

Kadhim Al-Rubaie (2005-2006)

Mohammed Khalaf (2006)

Yahya Alwan (2006)

Shaker Mahmoud (2006-2007)

Kadhim Khalaf (2007)

Karim Farhan (2007)

Thair Ahmed (2007-2008)

Faisal Aziz (2008)

Maitham Mutaab and Muwafaq Hussein (2008-2009)

Rahim Hamid (2009-2010)

Hakim Shaker (2010)

Yunes Abed Ali (2010-2011)

Hakim Shaker (2011)

Nabeel Zaki (2011)

Basem Qasem (2011-2012)

Mohammed Tabra (2012)

Thair Jasam (2012-2013)

Lorival Santos (Brazil, 2013-2014)


PICTURES OF HISTORIC GAMES


Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Al Seeb in the 1997-98 Asian Cup Winners' Cup: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=408

Pictures of Al Shorta in the Arab and Asian Championships: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=295
Pictures of Al Kuwait S.C. vs. Al Shorta in the 2014 AFC Champions League qualifiers: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=1399

Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Al Naft in Iraqi League 1998-99: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=384

Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Al Quwa Al Jawiya in Iraqi League 1997-98: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=393

Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Al Zawraa in Iraqi League 1997-98: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=396

Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Al Quwa Al Jawiya in Iraqi League 1996-97: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=390

Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Kirkuk in Iraqi League 1999-00: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=419

Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Al Quwa Al Jawiya in Iraqi League 2000-01: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=423

Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Al Zawraa in Iraqi League 2000-01: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=425

Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Al Zawraa in Iraqi League 2001-02: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=436

Pictures of Al Shorta vs. Al Jaish in Iraqi League 2005-06: http://iraqfpg.com/Albums/?aid=435
A collection of historical Al Shorta team photos: http://iraqsp.net/thumbnails.php?album=87

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