Africa’s Greatest Football Clubs: Al Hilal


By Joburg Post

Al-Hilal Club has been the light of Omdurman and the people of Sudan for over seven decades. As the country’s most dominant team since its formation in 1930, the Crescent has won over 20 leagues titles. The club was formed with the purpose of uniting locals and creating intellectual friendship after the 1926 revolution.  Founded at the height of the Mahdist war by the likes of Babeker Qabbani and Hamdna Allah Ahmed Hamdna Allah, the club is the pride and joy of the Sudanese people.

The fiercest rivalry against Al-Merrikh can put the whole country at a standstill. Both teams are based in the city of Omdurman and matches between the two giants are usually closely contested. Al Hilal can accommodate 45 000 spectators at their home ground and with the majority of the Sudanese football loving people behind them, the Crescent never struggle to fill the stadium to full capacity for their home matches. Supporters of the club come in numbers to witness their favourite team in action. Driven by passion, the club faithful fans paint the club’s crescent logo on their bodies, wear team colours, sing and dance to the sound of brass bands. Inside the stadium, the environment is hostile, so hostile those not familiar with African football can struggle to play or cope with the loud sounds coming from the stands.

Al Hilal is a club for the people by the people, the nickname Crescent was suggested by a child outside Mosque in the club’s early years. Decisions by the club’s directors are taken with the club supporters in mind, which is why a decision was taken to build a stadium the supporters can call their own. The Al-Hilal stadium was completed and opened in 1968. The Crescent slaughterhouse has basketball, swimming, table tennis and chess facilities. The inclusion of other sports makes Al Hilal one of the best sports institutions in the world. After years of dominance in the local league, Sudanese most successful club will be determined to stamp their authority on the African continent.

The crescent return to competing on the CAF Champions league after FIFA banned the country’s association last year due to political influence. Al Hilal head into the clash against Liberian International Shipping & Corporate Registry F.C (LISCR) high in confidence after a great run of form in the domestic league. The crescent will hope to extend their winning run when they travel to Antoinette Tubman Stadium on Sunday, 11 February. After reaching previously reaching the final, the Sudanese giants will be seen by most football pundits as favourite. Al Hilal lost the 1992 final against Wydad Casablanca. While under Milutin Sredojevic, the team went as far as the semi-finals in 2011. The Crescent also reached the CAF Confederation Cup last four the previous.     

-JP

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