But while Matsatsantsa will not have to endure the rigours of the preliminary qualification round due to their success last season, the Citizens on the other hand, will make their maiden appearance on the continent on Friday night.
In the build up to this year’s campaign, City have consistently spoken about their desire to do well on the African continent, and Goal looks at just what they should expect in their first season, and whether or not they can go all the way.
Many will question whether or not City can emulate SuperSport’s heroics of last year or even better it by winning the competition, but the reality is that African football is all about desire and a willingness to succeed.
Just ask the successful Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and even SuperSport for that matter - African football is about focus and showing nerves of steel. Now, in City’s first round qualifier, the draw has been kind to them as they only have to make the short trip to Swaziland to take on Young Buffaloes.
While not much is known about the Swazi side, it is imperative that Benni McCarthy and his technical team do their homework.
South Africans certainly don’t want to witness a repeat of how Platinum Stars were dismantled by Swazi Premier League champions Mbabane Swallows.
On paper, City certainly have a team that can compete with the best in Africa, but the tournament will test coach McCarthy’s man-management skills.
While the 40-year-old is a Uefa Champions League winner himself, that experience may help little, but African football is a totally different ball game. With games set to come in thick and fast, McCarthy will be forced to rotate his squad, but at the same time ensure that he has a strong squad to compete on all fronts.
Playing a second string team, is certainly not on the cards for City, and they should be commended for their stance.
Also, City have been wise in the market and although, players such as Allan Kateregga and Matthew Rusike won’t be able to compete in the early rounds due to them being signed after the deadline, but they have a squad that has an abundance of experience.
Worryingly though, is City’s lack of goals. Just look at the impact Jeremy Brockie had for SuperSport last season or Khama Billiat in Sundowns Caf Champions League winning campaign - having a striker with a knack for goals is integral. This makes players such as Kenyan attacker Masoud Juma more important.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that City may have the ambition to go all the way, but their chances rest on whether or not they can adapt to the conditions and contrasts in football quick enough.
It should be noted that if City do want to be amongst the best on the continent, this is their time to finally stand up and be counted. Given the quality in their team, City can go as far as the group stages, but McCarthy will have to be smart, especially because he traveled around the continent with both Bafana Bafana and Pirates during his playing days.