Kuala Lumpur: The fourth and final regional poll in our search for Asia’s most popular football club takes us to West Asia, where all 12 nations in the region can boast clubs which have captured the hearts and minds of the locals.
Due to the sheer weight of interest in the West’s respective national polls, we expanded the field to 16 teams for this stage, with the 12 national winners joined by four of the most popular sides to finish second.
Only two from West Asia can advance to Sunday’s all-Asian final. Who will it be? Check out the nominees and don’t forget to vote for your favourite.
One of the most popular clubs anywhere in Asia during the first stage of voting, Jordan’s Al Faisaly have won a remarkable 80 trophies since 1944, including back-to-back AFC Cups in 2005 and 2006.
Shbab Al Khalil
Shbab Al Khalil have appeared on the continental stage just once, in the 2017 AFC Cup, but as three-time West Bank Premier League champions, they are one of Palestine’s best supported clubs.
Al Ram, Palestine
A four-time West Bank Premier League champion, Hilal Alquds made their AFC Cup group stage debut In 2019, defeating opposition from Oman and Lebanon throughout the competition.
Representing the western side of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Al Zawraa have won 14 Iraqi Premier League titles, and reached the final of the 1999-00 Asian Cup Winners’ Cup before losing 1-0 to Shimizu S-Pulse of Japan.
Al Faisaly’s great rivals, Al Wehdat have won an exceptional 16 Jordanian league titles in the last 40 years. Eight of the most recent Jordan national team squad were Al Wehdat players.
Moving from the West to the East takes us to Al Shorta club; the 1971 Asian Club Championship runners-up, the Arab Club champions in 1982 and a competitive force as recently as this year in the AFC Champions League.
It has been more than 20 years since Al Arabi won their own domestic league title, but they remain one of the best supported clubs in Qatar, winning our earlier poll aimed at finding the nation’s most popular team with more than 100,000 votes.
Shaab Ibb SCC
Shaab Ibb may not have the continental pedigree of some of the other names on this list, but they also received in excess of 100,000 votes in the domestic stage of voting, making them the most popular club in Yemen.
Al Hilal SFC
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
One of the most successful clubs in all of Asian football, Al Hilal are three-time Asian champions with a total of seven pieces of continental silverware. Their most recent triumph on the Asian stage came with the 2019 AFC Champions League title.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Another Riyadh giant, Al Nassr have been champions of Saudi Arabia on nine occasions, Asian Cup Winners’ Cup champions in 1997-98 and represented Asia at the FIFA Club World Championship in Brazil in 2000.
One of the best-followed clubs in Lebanese football, Nejmeh are eight-time Lebanese champions and reached the AFC Cup final in 2005.
Al Ittihad won the most popular club in Syria, it was created in 1949, and it represents the city of Aleppo, they won AFC Cup 2010, and Syrian League 6 times.
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
A powerhouse of the 1980s and 90s, Sharjah returned to the AFC Champions League after a 16-year hiatus in 2020, and they were voted the UAE’s most popular club in our domestic poll earlier this year.
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Billed as Kuwait’s most popular club, they are also among the region’s most succesful, with more than 50 trophies to their name including a record 17 league titles and Asian glory in the 2014 AFC Cup.
Another AFC Cup winner, Muharraq won the title against Lebanon’s Safa in 2008, and have won an astonishing 34 league and 33 King’s Cup titles in their native Bahrain.
Based in the southern city of Salalah, Dhofar are Oman’s most successful league club, winning the title 11 times since 1983, and lifting their ninth Sultan Qaboos Cup earlier this year.
Note: Fans can vote once a day for the duration of the poll. Poll ends at 17:00 (UTC+8) on December 26.