In the hearts of Algeria's indigenous Berber people, a special place is reserved for Jeunesse Sportive Kabylie. FIFA.com looks at the history of a club that symbolises the minority group, and has made history in African club competition.
Birth of an institution
JS Kabylie was founded during the colonial era, when Muslim teams were forced to play in the lower leagues. At the time, French authorities were not keen on the establishment of sports clubs by locals, but permission was finally granted to a group led by Said Amrouche, which was seeking to re-establish a team for the Muslims of Kabylie after Rapid Club of Tizi Ouzou folded in the 1930s.
Subsequently, JSK was inaugurated on 13 October 1946, but they made little initial impact. Furthermore, they had to rely on donations and, ironically, even received assistance in the form of equipment from Mouloudia and USM Alger, who are today among their arch-rivals. However, less than a decade after their formation, the team ceased activity during the War of Liberation, before reforming in 1962 to compete in the second tier of Algerian football.
Making of a legend
JSK reached the top flight in 1969, under the tutelage of Ali Benfadah, but French coach Jean Lemaitre assumed the reins for their maiden season in the upper tier; one during which they finished a respectable sixth in the league and reached the cup quarter-finals. Three seasons later and they won the first of their record 14 Algerian championships, finishing a point above Hussein-Dey. It was immediately followed by a second crown and a third followed in 1977.
JSK made their continental debut in 1978, playing in the African Champions' Cup but falling at the quarter-final stage when AS V Club of Zaire beat them on the away goals rule. When the club won the Algerian league again in 1980, they were known as JE Tizi-Ouzou. The next year they marched to the continental crown, ironically overwhelming AS V Club 5-0 on aggregate in the final. JSK's triumphant side was expertly guided by Mahieddine Khalef and inspired by the skill of Ali Fergani, who went on to both captain and coach Algeria at the FIFA World Cup.
It was the first of six continental titles for JSK, who won the same competition on penalties in 1990, this time under Polish coach Stefan Zywotko, the African Cup Winners' Cup in 1995, and three consecutive CAF Cups from 2000. In between, they were regularly crowned Algerian kings, entrenched their status as the country's pre-eminent club.
JSK won the Algerian league in 2004, 2006 and last season, when they finished ten points clear of their nearest challengers. However, French coach Jean Christian Lang and his charges have a lot of work to do to retain their title this term.
Founded 20 years ago, the Stade 1 Novembre, named after a significant date in the Algerian revolution, has a capacity of around 22,000. It was one of the first major stadiums in Africa to install an artificial surface, and underwent renovations in April 2007. JSK have played their bigger games in the capital, Algiers, where over 100,000 watched the second leg of their CAF Cup final against Etoile Sahel in 2001.