Mamelodi Sundowns celebrate after winning the 2016 Caf Champions League. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Tshwane giants, Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United, were given byes in the preliminary round of their continental commitments thanks to their previous exploits.

The two clubs gave the country’s capital the privilege of being the only South African city with back-to-back finalists in continental competitions at club level. Sundowns won the Caf Champions League in 2016 while SuperSport lost in the final of this year’s Caf Confederation Cup to TP Mazembe.

The Brazilians, who lead the Absa Premiership standings, will start their Champions League campaign against either Rayon Sport of Rwanda or Lydia Ludic Burundi Académic in the first round which comes before the group stage. The country’s reigning champions, Bidvest Wits, start against Pamplemousses of Mauritius. Wits host the first leg and will travel for the second leg. Should Wits go through to the second round they will face either FC Platinum from Zimbabwe or Angola’s Clube Desportivo 1º de Agosto with a place in the group stage up for grabs.

Cape Town City will make their debut in the Confederation Cup against Young Buffaloes with the first leg in Swaziland. The winner of that match will face either Galaxy FC of Botswana or Clube de Desportos da Costa do Sol of Mozambique. 

Matsatsantsa a Pitori will take on the winner of Master Security of Mali’s clash with Athletico Petroleos of Angola. The 2018 Champions League and Confederation Cup will kick off in February after the Caf Super Cup that pits last year’s Champions League winners Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo who won the Confederation Cup. 

This will be the last time these tournaments play from February to November. In 2019 these competitions will be played from August to May, just like the South African football calendar.

IOL Sport

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