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Gabriel Calderon

Of all the “Al Ittihads” on the North African and West Asian football scene, the club based in the port city of Jeddah on the Red Sea is the best known. Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia, seven-time winners of the national league, are unquestionably the best club in the kingdom and celebrate their 80th anniversary this year. In 1927, a little more than three decades before the Saudi Arabian Football Federation was founded, a group of young football fans met in Jeddah with the aim of setting up a club. Their dream became a reality the following year. Al Ittihad are the only Saudi Arabian team to have enjoyed success at continental level, making their nickname the “Asian Tigers” a fitting one. They have won the AFC Champions League twice. Under their new Argentinian coach Gabriel Calderon, the restructured team is aiming for its third title.