When we think of the top footballing teams in the world—the ones with long histories of success not only in domestic competition but internationally—our minds are drawn to the likes of Manchester United in England, Barcelona in Spain, and AC Milan in Italy.
Football however, is a global game, and in every corner of the world you will find teams that have replicated the success of their more famous counterparts but with much less fanfare.
Here are three examples of clubs who have dominated in their own backyards.
Made up from players who ply their trade in protective forces by day, Defence Force F.C. are Trinidad and Tobago’s most successful team ever, having won their national league 21 times and are T&T’s only ever winner of the CONCACAF Champions Cup (the precursor to the CONCACAF Champions League).
In 1985 they picked up a treble of League, Cup, and CONCACAF Cup titles.
They can also claim to have a better name than their Jack Warner-owned league rivals, Joe Public FC.
Uzbekistan: F.C. Pakhtakor Tashkent
Pakhtakor have been the dominant team in Uzbek football since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, winning their national league eight times and the the national cup seven times.
They compete regularly in the Asian Champions League, their best finishes being semifinal appearances in 2003 and 2004.
Pakhtakor even managed to hold their own against the big Russian and Ukrainian teams during the Soviet days, despite having 17 players killed in a mid-air crash in 1979 and bizarrely being deducted a point for drawing too many games in 1982.
Zimbabwe: Dynamos F.C.
Based in the capital, Harare, Dynamos had already become a very successful team in Rhodesia, where they started as a club for black players in the white-dominated nation. They had collected six league titles by the time the country was renamed Zimbabwe and have gone on to win 12 more.
Nicknamed “The Glamour Boys,” they claim to have seven million fans, which, if true, means over half the population of Zimbabwe cheers them on.