The Story Behind: Club Badges – Part Two
Kuala Lumpur: So much of a club, city or country's history can be depicted within the small emblem normally seen in the top left of a football jersey, and in our latest edition of 'The Story Behind' we take another look at the fascinating tales of the team badges of six more sides from across Asia.
From the United Arab Emirates in the West to Japan in the East, with a number of stop-offs in between, here's the-AFC.com's selection of six clubs with interesting stories behind the badges that they proudly display on their chests.
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Al Ain – United Arab Emirates
Dominated by the iconic Al Jahili Castle, the fort on the Al Ain logo is considered a symbol of the club because it reflects the rich history of the city and was also the formal home of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – often referred to in the United Arab Emirates as the 'Father of the Nation' – from 1946 when he was a governor of the region.
One of the largest forts in the UAE, Al Jahili Castle was built in the late 19th century by Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa, the grandfather of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, both as a symbol of power and as a royal summer residence. The original structure consisted of a square fortified enclosure and a distinctive four-storey circular tower, while the modern-day version remains one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.
Al Ain FC were formed in 1968, but it wasn't until 1980 that the fort was officially adopted as the main feature for the club's logo. There is also a single star on their emblem that recognises their UAE Pro League success, with one star representing 10 titles. Currently with 13 league championships to their name, Al Ain will need to be crowned champions another seven times before a second star is added.
Finally, purple became Al Ain's prominent colour in 1977 after playing in a pre-season tournament against Anderlecht in Morocco. The Belgian giants' purple strips were admired by the powers that be at Al Ain, who subsequently opted for a striking new look.
Jubilo Iwata – Japan
Among the most prominent features of the Jubilo Iwata club emblem are the two long-tail Japanese paradise flycatchers. Sankocho, as they are known in Japan, literally translates to 'bird of three lights'.
The bird was given its name due to its distinctive chirping sound, 'Tsuki-Hi-Hoshi, Hoi-Hoi-Hoi', which bears resemblances to the words 'moon, sun and stars' and, thus, explains the positioning of a moon, sun and star next to the pair of paradise flycatchers.
The blue bands on the top and bottom, meanwhile, represent the Tenryu River, located in the team’s hometown of Iwata city, as well as other rivers in Shizuoka prefecture including the Ooi River, Abe River and Fuji River.
While Jubilo Iwata were officially founded in 1970 as the company team for the Yamaha Motor Corporation, the 1992 on their logo recognises the club's development into a professional entity. They competed in the J.League for the first time in 1994, after being promoted from the now defunct Japan Football League, and have since won Japan's top flight three times, the last being in 2002.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors – Korea Republic
A crest with ties to regional history, the main aspect of the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors logo is the golden Bonghwang or Phoenix, a mythological bird that was often a symbol of the Baekje dynasty, an ancient kingdom located in southwestern Korea.
The capital of Baekje was at Jeonju, a city in the modern-day North Jeolla Province in southwestern Korea Republic, and the home of K League powerhouse Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
Also known as "immortal bird", the Bonghwang is often associated with royalty and represents nobility and good fortune. Since 1967, it has been used as the presidential seal of Korea Republic.
The badge is predominantly green, meanwhile, which is the traditional colour of North Joella Province and has, thus, been worn by the team since their foundation in 1994.
Nakhon Ratchasima FC – Thailand
The northeastern Thai city and province of Nakhon Ratchasima is typically referred to as "Korat" colloquially and it is the Korat cat which is the prominent feature of the Nakhon Ratchasima FC crest.
A species that originated in Nakhon Ratchasima province, the Korat cat is also considered a good luck charm and traditionally given in pairs as gifts to newlyweds or people who are considered highly esteemed.
In Thailand, the breed is also known as si-sawat, meaning 'colour of the sawat seed', and, hence, the reason Nakhon Ratchasima FC are nicknamed the Swat Cats.
A final word on the species, they are particularly rare and considered among the oldest and purist breeds of cats, so don't expect to see too many running around the team's 80th Birthday Stadium. But the Swat Cats will hope their much-loved Korat will bring them some luck when the Thai season kicks of in September.
Bengaluru FC – India
The outlined structure on the Bengaluru FC badge is an unmistakable icon of the Karnataka State city – the Bangalore Palace. Rich in art, history and culture, the palace illustrates victory because of how the Wodeyars won it back for its people.
Located within the palace on the badge is the Gandaberunda – the two-headed mythological bird that is said to possess magical might. The Gandaberunda, which is the emblem of Karnataka and displayed on the state's coat of arms, is said to represent the strength, resilience and pride of the people.
The three stars atop the badge, meanwhile, represent each of the times Bengaluru have been crowned champions of India. The club won the I-League in 2014 and 2016, before claiming the Indian Super League title in 2019.
Persija Jakarta – Indonesia
Indonesia's National Monument, erected in Jakarta in 1975 to commemorate the struggle for the Southeast Asian nation's independence, is located in the centre of the Persija emblem as a symbol of grandeur, creativity and fighting power.
Surrounding the monument is the gate, which recognises the Indonesian capital, while the yellow and green on the left and right represent rice and cotton, and symbolise prosperity. The rope that ties them together, meanwhile, represents unity.
The blue seen behind the monument, rice and cotton, meanwhile, represents the natural sea, while the term 'Jaya Raya' is the club's motto which translates to 'Glorious'.
Finally, the gold star that sits proudly atop the badge is recognition of all the titles won by the Indonesian giants over the years.
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