As the AFC Cup 2016 Final is just a day away and Bengaluru FC, as well as the India Football, is standing on the verge of creating history, it is the time to know their opponent of the final. 2016 Al-Quwa AL-Jawiya is the oldest and the first professional football club in Iraq. Found in 1931, it is one of the successful clubs in Iraq. Also popularly known as the Air Force Club of Iraq, Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya is often bracketed along the four Baghdad clubs, the other three being Al-Shorta, Al-Talaba and Al-Zawraa. The organisation shares a fierce rivalry with the other clubs from Baghdad.

AFC Cup Final 2016
AFC Cup Final 2016 Image Source

AFC Cup 2016 Final:  Al-Quwa AL-Jawiya Club Details

Al-Quwa AL-Jawiya Club History

The club was established on July 4, 1931, under the title “Gipsy Moth” with the leading enthusiasts being the flight policemen in Iraq based out from the Hinnaidi RAF Base. On the very next day of the establishment, Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya played their first competitive football match against another team which was founded by another military team from the Habbaniya RAF Base. The club’s name “Gipsy Moth” got changed to Al-Tayaran in the year 1974 and eventually got the name Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in 1991. The club’s home ground is situated very close Falastin Street in Baghdad although all the modern facilities are yet to be installed in the arena. The club has got a group of passionate supporters who call themselves Al-Soqoor or the Hawks or the Falcons. However, AFC has not allowed them to play their home matches at their original home ground due to security issues. Instead, they have to play their home games in the Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium at Doha in Qatar.

AFC Cup Final 2016
Early pictures of the club Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya Image Source

Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya is among the top few successful clubs in Iraq having won their domestic titles for ten times, the latest one coming in the 2004-05 season. Then they had a barren run for 12 years when they ultimately managed to win the Iraqi FA Cup in the 2015-16 season. It was their fourth Iraqi FA Cup title. However, they are the most consistent club in the history of Iraqi football having finished second 31 times out of 40 possible opportunities. They are also the proud winner of the first edition of the Iraqi Premier League when title got rechristened as such. Recently in the 2014-15 season, they finished as the runner-up while they finished fourth last year. In the current season, they have made a promising start with two wins from as many matches. The Air Force Club of Iraq has been quite successful in the continental championships for they are the first team from the country to take such a trophy. It was in 1982 that they won the Arab Club Championship which is a first major triumph for any Iraqi club. They qualified for the AFC Champions League in 2004, 2006 and 2008 but failed to make much of an impact as they were ousted only in the group stages. This year’s appearance in the final is going to be their first in any pan-Asian tournament.

Al-Quwa AL-Jawiya: Road to the Final

Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya was pitted in Group C in the first round of the AFC Cup 2016. They shared the group with Syria’s Al-Wahda, Shahab Al-Dhahiriya from Palestine and Al-Oruba club based out of Oman. They topped their group having scored 15 goals in 6 matches including the three away matches. They also conceded as many as 7, 5 of which were scored by the Al-Wahda club from Syria when they lost 5-2. Over the tournament, they have managed to keep clean sheet only on four occasions letting in 11 times including that drubbing away from home. They have scored a fair bit of time, 26 to be precise, which is only a few shy of the defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia.

In the round of 16, they beat a strong side Al-Wehdat which is quite a familiar name in the footballing sectors of Asia, particularly for their playing style. They also beat a strong side of Al-Jaish 5-1 in aggregate putting four beyond them in their home ground. They impressed most when they came back twice from behind against Lebanon’s Al-Ahed and clinched a 3-2 victory through the winner from Bashar Resan which advanced them to the AFC Cup 2016 Final. Post that match, manager Basim Qasim was all praise for the players and saluted the great spirit of the players. He remarked, “We had a big will to win, especially in the final third of the match, and we played with five players in the frontline. We proved that we are a strong team and we managed to get an important victory against a strong side who have had an excellent performance in this competition.”

Al-Quwa AL-Jawiya: Style of play

The Air Force Club of Iraq does play a traditional style of long-ball football. And it suits them well considering the fact that most of the Iraqi players are well built and have a decent height. That makes them dangerous from set piece movements as well besides the lethal crosses from the wings. That’s where things can get tough for Bengaluru FC for the average of height and stature of the players are simply no match for their Iraqi opponents.

Al-Quwa AL-Jawiya:Players to Watch Out for in the AFC Cup 2016 Final

The oldest club from Iraq is full of international players which make them an experienced side in big situations. Hammadi Ahmed, the exceptionally talented forward not with great height, which is an exception, is the most significant threat for the opponent defence primarily for his tricky style of play. Also, he is in sublime form having already scored 15 goals in the tournament. Samal Saeed, another Iraqi international, is also a considerable threat for the opponents, but he won’t be in the finals due to suspension. Humam Tariq and Bashar Resin complete the list of the four most important players in the attacking line the team. Tariq is already grabbing a lot of attention having made 33 appearances for the national side only at the age of 20. Resan, on the other hand, scored the winning goal in the semifinal, who is also the youngest player in the club to play in competitive games. However, his sending off in the semis will see him miss out the biggest game in his short club career. So these are the ‘big players’ we have to watch for in the AFC Cup 2016 Final.

Wrap up

It is incredible how the Iraqi club has made it so far considering the fact that Iraq is facing lots of issues back in their area. They couldn’t even play in their home ground for security reasons, yet they have made it big, big enough to get noticed in the world of football not only in Asia but across the five continents. Bengaluru FC will have to play out of their skins to see themselves on the podium after the final whistle in the AFC Cup 2016 final. Click on the hyperlink to know more about the AFC Cup Final 2016 Match Preview, Match Details, TV Guide & Live Streaming Details.

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