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Al-Karkh SC

Al-Karkh SC
Full name Al-Karkh Sports Club
Nickname(s) Canary or Al-Ghawassa Al-Safraa
Founded 1963 (1963)
1983 (1983), as Al-Rasheed Sports Club
Ground Al Karkh Stadium, Baghdad, Iraq
Ground Capacity 6,000
President Sharar Haider
League Iraqi Premier League
2014–15 5th – Group 1
Website Club home page

Al-Karkh Sports Club (Arabic: نادي الكرخ الرياضي‎) is an Iraqi sports club based in Karkh, Baghdad. Its professional football team plays in the Iraqi Premier League, the top tier of the Iraqi football. The club's home stadium is Al Karkh Stadium.

Founded in 1963, Al-Karkh wasn't successful in achieving any trophies until Al-Rasheed Sports Club was formed, winning 3 league titles in the row, 2 FA Cups, 3 Arab Champions Cup titles, and the runners-up of the 1988–89 Asian Club Championship. In 1990, the club was merged with Al-Rasheed and named Al-Karkh Sports Club. Since then, Al-Karkh haven't been able to achieve a title.


In th late-1940s a basketball club was established under the name of Al-Mansour Club, where a lot of national basketball players started. The team won the 1958 Adhamiya Tournament with thousands of people either celebrating in the court or crowding outside of it. In the early-1960s, the club was banished and its administrative board was transferred to a new Al-Karkh Sports Club which is considered as Al-Mansour's spiritual successor.[1]

Since it was founded in 1963, Al-Karkh were unsuccessful to get promoted to the Iraqi Premier League. For 27 years, they had been languishing in the lower divisions.

Taking the Al Karkh Stadium as his club's, on 23 November 1983, Uday Hussein founded a new sports club named Al-Rasheed. The team was promoted to the Iraqi Premier League, after achieving the 2nd Division title in their first season to participate in it.[2] Al-Rasheed had most of the Iraq national team players that were brought to the team by Ammo Baba, the head coach of the national team at the time. The most popular of them were Ahmed Radhi, Adnan Dirjal, Samir Shaker, Haris Mohammed, Habib Jafar, and Laith Hussein.[3]

Squad of Al-Rasheed during the 1984–85 season, along with Uday and Qusay Hussein

Al-Rasheed dominated the Iraqi football from the club's foundation until its dissolving. In their first season in the Iraqi Premier League, the 1984–85 season, Al-Rasheed were in 1st place, at 41 points, but because of the league being abandoned, no champions were announced.[4] They finished 2nd in the 1985–86.[5] Being managed by Ammo Baba, they achieved the league in the 1986–87 season,[6] along with the Iraq FA Cup, after beating Al-Jaish.[7] And another double success, under the management of Jamal Salih, in the 1987–88 season.[7][8] In the 1988–89 season, Al-Rasheed achieved the league to be their last achievement as Al-Rasheed and the last one for Al-Karkh.[9] Al-Rasheed became the first team to win the Iraqi Premier League three times in the row since it started in 1974.[10]

Al-Rasheed also achieved the Arab Champions Cup three times in the row; defeating USM El Harrach in 1985 in Al-Shaab Stadium,[11] ES Tunis in 1986 in Stade El Menzah,[12] and beating Al-Ittihad in the final of 1987 in Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium.[13] Al-Rasheed's biggest achievement is that they reached the 2nd place of the 1988–89 Asian Club Championship, after losing by the away goal rule to Al Sadd.[14]

On 18 August 1990, the Iraqi Olympic Committee decided to dissolve Al-Rasheed Sports Club and transfer all of its properties to Al-Karkh Sports Club and replacing Al-Rasheed with Al-Karkh in the Iraqi Premier League.[15] Therefor, every single trophy of Al-Karkh was achieved during the time of Al-Rasheed SC.

When Al-Karkh replaced Al-Rasheed's place in the Iraqi Premier League, the team and for the first time in their history, played in the top tier of Iraqi football. Most of the Iraq national team players left, retiring, like Adnan Dirjal, Haris Mohammed, and Samir Shaker, or transferring to other teams, like Ahmed Radhi, Laith Hussein, and Habib Jafar. In their first season in the senior division, 1990–91, they finished in 4th place at 38 points.[16]

Being coached by Adnan Dirjal, Al-Karkh, on Dirjal's first season as a coach, finished in the furthest place they have ever been in the league, which is 3rd place in the 1991–92 season, three points away from the leaders. Dirjal received the best Iraqi coach award for the team's performance through the season season, while Saad Qais Noaman received the best player award. Al-Karkh also finished in 4th place in the 1991 Umm Al Ma'arik Cup.[17]

In the seasons of 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95 and 1995–96, Al-Karkh managed to keep an average of 9th place in the league, where Ammo Baba, in the 1994–95 season, made the team reach the lowest he had ever reached with an Iraqi team through his entire managing career, which was 7th place.[18] The Iraq FA Cup editions from 1992 to 1996 didn't witness Al-Karkh succeeding in passing the round of 16,[7] while in the Umm Al Ma'arik Cup, Al-Karkh reached 4th place in 1993.

In the 1996–97 season, Al-Karkh finished in the relegation zone's 14th place at 27 points from 30 matches. The team was relegated to the Iraq Division One for the first time since they have replaced Al-Rasheed in 1990.[19] They were promoted back to the Iraqi Premier League in the 1997–98 season.[20] They maintained an average of 7th place throughout the five seasons after promotion. In the 1999–00 Iraq FA Cup, Al-Karkh reached the semifinals after beating Al-Talaba, Samarra FC, and beating Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 1–0 in the first leg but they were beaten via a penalty shootout after the match ended in a 0–1 loss for Al-Karkh. The team also reached the semifinals in the 1999 Umm Al-Ma'arik Cup, where they were beaten by Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya. They won the third place match.[21] A season after, Al-Karkh achieved the Umm Al-Ma'arik 3rd place again.[22]

In the 2003–04 season, after Sharar Haider was appointed as the new president of the club, Al-Karkh didn't qualify for the second phase while in the season after, the team only qualified to the second phase.[23] In the 2005–06 season, Al-Karkh finished in the relegation zone with 12 points out of 12 matches, one point away from Diyala FC that had 13 points, being relegated for the second time to the Iraq Division One.[24] The team stayed in the Division One until the 2009–10 season, where they were among the six clubs that were elected to play the last two Iraqi Premier League places playoff. Under the management of Nasrat Nassir,[25] Al-Karkh won promotion and returned to the Premier League.[26] After two seasons, Al-Karkh was relegated again before returning once again to the Premier League after winning Division One in the 2012–13 season.[27]


Al Karkh Stadium at night in 2014

At first, Al-Mansour club took an old building that oversees the Tigris in Al-Karkh, Karkh and turned it into a basketball court and a place to manage the club. In the late-1960s, the building started to collapse which was the main reason for the club being banished. In 1963, a new club with the same administrative board was formed in Mansour neighbourhood, Mansour district, Karkh after Al Karkh Stadium was built.[1]

In 1984, Al-Rasheed took over the stadium and turned it into their's after renovating it and allowing shops to be opened around it. In the dissolving of Al-Rasheed, the stadium returned to its old name as the stadium of Al-Karkh SC.[15] The stadium latest renovation was in 2004 along with most of the sports facilities after it was damaged by the U.S. Air Force in the Battle of Baghdad (2003).


Current squad

As of 17 September 2015[28]
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
No. Position Player
1 GK Sarmad Rasheed
3 DF Ali Awad
4 DF Ali Abid Ali (captain)
5 DF Nozad Abdul Hameed
7 MF Nameer Hameed
8 FW Hussam Ibrahim
9 MF Ahmad Abdul-Jabar
11 FW Ahmed Shirshab
12 GK Mohammed Saleh
17 MF Samer Saeed
19 DF Yasser Mahir
20 GK Wisam Adil
22 MF Haider Jabbar
23 FW Ali Rasheed (on loan from Al-Talaba)
No. Position Player
26 MF Mohammed Faris
27 FW Saad Fawzi
28 DF Sajjad Hussein
31 MF Khaldoun Ibrahim
32 FW Ibrahim Al-Jarih (on loan from Al-Nasr SC)
33 MF Akram Jasim (on loan from Al Shorta SC)
37 DF Papa Moussa (on loan from Al Shorta SC)
DF Ahmed Khalid
DF Qusay Munthir
MF Sahil Naeem
MF John Samuel
MF Samir Majid
FW Ali Saad
FW Mustafa Kareem


Current technical staff

Position Staff
Club doctor Basim Rasan

Notable managers

Board members

Office Name
President Sharar Haider
Vice-president Laith Kahalil Abdul-Razzaq
Members of the administrative board Abdul Kareem Hammadi
Kamil Mughamis Al-Baidhani
Haider Ali Lazim
Abdul Majeed Rasheed





Other sports


  • Iraqi Division I Basketball League:
    • Champions (12): 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08 (as Al-Karkh)
    • Champions (3): 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87 (as Al-Rasheed)


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External links

  • Club's Page on

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