Al-Gharafa SC

Al-Gharafa Sports Club (Arabic: نادي الغرافة الرياضي) is a Qatari sports club based in the Al Gharrafa district of Al Rayyan. It is best known for its football team, although it also has teams for other sports. It was established on 6 June 1979 as Al-Ittihad and later officially incorporated into the Qatar Football Association on 23 September of that same year. The club was officially renamed to its current form in 2004 to better represent the district of Al-Gharafa, of which the club belongs to. The club was founded by many young Qataris in 1979. Most notably, people like Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al-Thani, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani, Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal Al-Thani, Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al-Thani and Saad Mohammed Al-Rumaihi.[1] In a documentary produced by Al Kass sports channel about the history of the club, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim mentioned that the idea was suggested by Saad Al-Rumaihi initially who was working as a sports journalist at the Al Raya Newspaper.

Full nameAl-Gharafa Sports Club
Nickname(s)Al Fuhud (The Cheetahs)
Founded6 June 1979 (1979-06-06) as Al-Ittihad, 2004 as Al-Gharafa
GroundThani bin Jassim Stadium
Al Rayyan, Qatar
ChairmanJassim bin Thamer
ManagerSlaviša Jokanović
LeagueQatar Stars League
2018–19Qatar Stars League, 8th
Active departments of
Al-Gharafa Sports Club
Football Basketball



Al-Gharafa Sports Club was founded on 6 June 1979 and was formally created on 23 September 1979 as Al-Ittihad by the first president of the board of directors, Khalifa Bin Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Thani (1979–1982) under resolution no. 9. Al-Gharafa was founded with the intent of creating sports facilities for the youth in the Al Gharrafa region. It did not occur to the leaders that Al-Gharafa would become as tremendously successful as it is today. The name "Al-Ittihad", which when translated into English, means "United", was chosen in the spirit of the brotherhood and solidarity that characterized the club and its leaders. Yellow and blue were selected as the club colors due to the founders' endearment towards the Brazilian national team.[1] Al-Gharafa owes much of its success in the early years to the financial and material support of its Sheikh leaders.[2]

As Al-Gharafa was established relatively late compared to other Qatari clubs at the time, it was sent to the Qatari 2nd Division. It dominated the league and won the title on its debut in the 1979/80 season with Egyptian coach Mahmoud Abu Rujaila, as well three more times, the second by defending the championship in the 1980/81 season, and the third in the 1983/84 season, which, subsequently, was the year that their youth team had also won the league. Their first foreign player was Faisal Hannan, a Sudanese footballer who agreed to a contract one year prior to the club's establishment. Additionally, they won the 1986/87 season of the 2nd Division, allowing them to play in the 1987–88 season of the Qatar Stars League. The club ended up winning its first Stars League title in 1991–92, breaking the 16-year deadlock between the three dominant Qatari clubs Al-Arabi, Al Sadd, and Al-Rayyan. Al-Gharafa's youth team also won the league a year later in the 1992/93 season. The club were runners-up in 1994 to Al-Arabi, before winning the Emir of Qatar Cup 4 times in a row, from 1995 to 1998, under coach Jamal Haji.[2]

The club won the league for the second time in the 1997/98 season with 32 points after they edged Al-Rayyan by a margin of 3 points. Al-Rayyan finished runners-up, with Al Sadd in third place. The very next year they finished runners-up to Al-Wakrah, however, Al-Gharafa had the best goal difference.[2]


On Friday, 28 April 2000, at Khalifa International Stadium, Al-Gharafa won their first Qatar Crown Prince Cup. The match had ended goalless before they beat Al-Rayyan 9–8 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. They were led by Adel Khamis, the long-time captain of the team. Al-Gharafa also won the Crown Prince Cup in 2010 and 2011.[2]

They won the league championship in the 2000–01 season by defeating Al Sadd in their last game on 1 May 2001 by a scoreline of 1–0. After the match, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, then chairman of the olympic committee, delivered an award to Adel Khamis, as well as gold medals to the whole team and a sum of 500,000 Qatari riyals to the club. Rachid Amrane also won the league top goalscorer with a tally of 16 goals.[2]


The Qatar Stars League was revamped in the 2004/05 season, with many clubs changing their names (including Al-Gharafa), as well as changing the number of games played each season from 18 to 27. The club won the league this year, with only 1 loss from 27 games, bringing their point tally to 66, which was 14 more than the runners-up, Al-Rayyan. They also won their first Sheikh Jassem Cup that year, on 12/9/2005, after defeating Al Ahli 2–1, courtesy of goals from Rodrigo and Fahad Al Shammari.[2]

The next year they were unsuccessful in retaining the league championship, only finishing runners-up to Al Sadd. Although the next season, they won the league once more, besides scoring the highest number of goals in a season with 72 goals, mainly thanks to the efforts of Araújo, who scored 27 goals that season, shattering Gabriel Batistuta's record of 25.[2]


Al Gharafa plays its home games at Thani bin Jassim Stadium which is situated in the Al Gharafa suburb of Al Rayyan. The stadium holds 27,000 people and was built in 2003. The stadium hosted 2011 AFC Asian Cup and other international competitions. It is planned to expand the existing 27,000 capacity to 44,740 for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[3]

Youth development

Al Gharafa has one of the largest youth development programmes in the country. It recruits youth players for every age bracket available, and has produced national team players from its academy. They regularly visit local schools, as well as hold school tournaments, and offer students trials. Currently there are approximately 350 players in the club's youth ranks, with 100 players in its academy, and 240 players in grass roots. Break-up is as follows (as of 2013):[4]

Break-up of all youth players
Total number of youth playersPlaying in national teamsIn ASPIRE
Break-up of academy players
CategoryU–19U–17U–15U–14Total no. of players
Number of players
Number of trainers
Training sessions/week
Break-up of grass–roots players
CategoryU–12U–11U–10U–9U–8U–7U–6U–15Total no. of players
Number of players
Number of trainers
Training sessions/week


Winners (7): 1992, 1998, 2002 (as Al-Ittihad), 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010
Winners (4): 1980, 1982, 1984, 1987 (as Al-Ittihad)
Winners (7): 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002 (as Al-Ittihad), 2009, 2012
Winners (3): 2000 (as Al-Ittihad), 2010, 2011
Winners (3): 2009, 2018, 2019(Record)
Winners (1): 1999 (Defunct)

Performance in AFC competitions

AFC Champions League
Season Round Results Team 2 Venue Scorer(s)
8 March 2006Group Round0 – 2 Saba BatteryDoha, Qatar
22 March 20060 – 2 Al-WahdaAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
12 April 20064 – 0 Al-KaramahDoha, QatarA'ala Hubail (2), Lawrence Quaye, Ismaiel Ali
26 April 20061 – 3 Al-KaramahHoms, SyriaLawrence Quaye
3 May 20061 – 4 Saba BatteryTehran, IranAbdulla Al-Mazroa
17 May 20065 – 3 Al-WahdaDoha, QatarA'ala Hubail (3), Fahad Al Shammari, Sergio Ricardo
12 March 2008Group Round1 – 1 ArbilZarqa, JordanAraújo
19 March 20082 – 2 PakhtakorDoha, QatarYounis Mahmoud, Araújo
9 April 20080 – 1 Al Qadisiya KuwaitKuwait City, Kuwait
23 April 20080 – 1 Al Qadisiya KuwaitDoha, Qatar
7 May 20080 – 1 ArbilDoha, Qatar
21 May 20080 – 2 PakhtakorTashkent, Uzbekistan
10 March 2009Group Round1 – 3 Al-ShababDoha, QatarAraújo
17 March 20092 – 0 SharjahSharjah, United Arab EmiratesNasser Kamil, Araújo
8 April 20091 – 3 PersepolisTehran, IranFernandão
21 April 20095 – 1 PersepolisDoha, QatarFernandão, Araújo (3), Nashat Akram
6 May 20090 – 1 Al-ShababRiyadh, Saudi Arabia
23 February 2010Group Round2 – 1 Al-JaziraAbu Dhabi, United Arab EmiratesOtmane El Assas, Younis Mahmoud
9 March 20103 – 2 Al-AhliDoha, QatarMirghani Al Zain, Saad Al-Shammari, Araújo
23 March 20100 – 3 EsteghlalTehran, Iran
31 March 20101 – 1 EsteghlalDoha, QatarYounis Mahmoud
14 April 20104 – 2 Al-JaziraDoha, QatarAraújo (3), Otmane El Assas
28 April 20101 – 0 Al-AhliJeddah, Saudi ArabiaNaser Kamil
11 May 2010Round of 161 – 0 PakhtakorDoha, QatarAraújo
15 September 2010Quarter-final0 – 3 Al-HilalRiyadh, Saudi Arabia
22 September 20104 – 2 Al-HilalDoha, QatarMirghani Al Zain, Younis Mahmoud (2), Otmane El Assas
1 March 2011Group Round0 – 0 Al-JaziraAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
15 March 20110 – 1 Al-HilalDoha, Qatar
5 April 20110 – 2 SepahanIsfahan, Iran
29 April 20111 – 0 SepahanDoha, QatarAmara Diané
4 May 20115 – 2 Al-JaziraDoha, QatarYounis Mahmoud (3), Amara Diané, Mirghani Al Zain
11 May 20110 – 2 Al-HilalRiyadh, Saudi Arabia

Current squad

As of Qatar Stars League:

No Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Qasem Burhan  Qatar
2 Defender Saeed El-Hadj  Qatar
3 Defender Tameem Al-Muhaza  Qatar
5 Defender Al-Mahdi Ali Mukhtar  Qatar
6 Midfielder Muaaz Al-Salemi  Qatar
7 Midfielder Moayad Hassan  Qatar
8 Defender Yousef Muftah  Qatar
10 Midfielder Koo Ja-cheol  South Korea
11 Midfielder Othman Al-Yahri  Qatar
12 Midfielder Abdullah Ali Saei U23  Qatar
13 Forward Ahmed Alaaeldin  Qatar
14 Midfielder Abdulghani Muneer  Qatar
15 Defender Hector Moreno  Mexico
16 Defender Thamer Jamal  Sudan
17 Midfielder Adlène Guedioura  Algeria
18 Midfielder Amro Surag U23  Qatar
19 Defender Mohammed Ramadhan U23  Qatar
20 Midfielder Monkez AdiU23  Qatar
23 Goalkeeper Salah Zakaria U23 (on loan from Al-Wakrah)  Qatar
24 Defender Homam Ahmed U23  Qatar
27 Midfielder Andri Syahputra U23  Qatar
30 Defender Nasser Al-Harbi U23  Qatar
32 Midfielder Ali Al-Omari U23  Qatar
34 Defender Hassan Waleed U23  Qatar
55 Goalkeeper Osama Kamel  Egypt
72 Midfielder Mostafa Essam U23  Qatar
77 Defender Abdurahman Al-Rashidi  Qatar
79 Midfielder Vladimír Weiss  Slovakia
80 Defender Elias Ahmed U23  Qatar
92 Defender Ahmed Al-Ganehi U23  Qatar
94 Midfielder Sofiane Hanni  Algeria
98 Forward Mohammad Abu Shanab U23  Qatar
99 Goalkeeper Abdullah Abdoh U23  Qatar

Other players under contract

No Position Player Nation
Goalkeeper Yousef Hassan  Qatar
Defender Lucas Mendes  Brazil

Out on loan

No Position Player Nation
4 Midfielder Nasser Al Ahrak U23 (on loan to Al-Khor)  Qatar

Notable players

This list includes players whom have made significant contributions to their national team and to the club. At least 100 caps for the club or 80 caps for their national team is needed to be considered for inclusion. Updated 28 March 2016.

Local players

Foreign players


Last update: 19 May 2018.[5]

Club officials


Position Staff
President Sh. Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani
Vice-President Sh. Khalid bin Ahmed Al Thani
Treasurer Sh. Thani bin Thamer Al Thani
General Secretary Jassem Al Mansouri
Vice Secretary Ahmed Al Shehhi
Board member Sh. Abdulaziz bin Jassim Al-Thani
General Secretary Sh. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Thani
General Secretary Sh. Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani
General Secretary Sh. Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani

Last updated: 18 December 2014
Source: Board of Directors

Managerial history

Last update: June 2014.[2][6][7]

  • Note 1 denotes caretaker role


  1. "الغرافة أسس على الحب والترابط وروح الأسرة الواحدة". 31 January 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  2. "تاريخ النادي" (in Arabic). Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  3. "Thani bin Jassim Stadium". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  4. "Al Gharafa Football Club (AFC Inspection visit)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  5. "Staff – football" (in Arabic). Al Gharafa. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  6. "مسابقة كأس سمو الأمير لكرة القدم المباريات النهائية". Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  7. "تاريخ بطولة كأس سمـــــــو ولي العهد". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  8. "Interview with Faisal Hannan". 15 March 2013. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  9. "مع احترامي للريان والجيش.. الكأس الغالية غرفاوية". 17 May 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  10. "Qatar's Al Ittihad takes on Al Ain today". 8 January 2001. Archived from the original on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  11. "طموح السد "التحليق" في صدارة قطر". 5 December 2003. Archived from the original on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
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