The Blues have been drawn against Bhutan's Transport United in the first round with the away leg to be played on 23 January in Thimpu and the return leg in Bengaluru on 30 January.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) guidelines allow only four foreigners in the squad with at least one from an AFC member nation. Spaniards Juanan, Dimas Delgado and Antoni Dovale joins Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu to make up the quartet. As a result, Venezuelan forward Miku and English defender John Johnson have been left out. Spanish duo Edu Garcia and Braulio Nobrega too make to fail the cut.
Bangladesh's Saif SC versus Maldives' TC Sports is the other tie in the South Asia zone. Winners from both matches enter the playoff round against each other to claim a spot in Group E wherein New Radiant SC, Dhaka Abahani and Aizawl FC (subject to AFC Champions League elimination) await them.
As many as seven players from Bengaluru 'B' have been added. Head coach Albert Roca commented, "It’s very important for us to make use of the entire squad. We’re the only Indian Super League (ISL) team playing Asian competition this season, and our schedule is hectic. But this is what we always wanted, to represent India in Asia, so there are no complaints"
"With the competition rules, we can only play four foreigners so that provides a good opportunity for all our Indian boys, especially the youngsters to rise to the occasion. Our ‘B’ team players have been working hard, and that’s why they have been brought into the squad and I hope they will respond to the occasion."
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Abhra Mondal, Calvin Abhishek;
Defenders: Zohmingliana Ralte, Juanan, Joyner Lourenco, Asheer Akhtar, Rahul Bheke, Collin Abranches, Harmanjot Khabra, Prashanth Kalinga, Nishu Kumar, Subhasish Bose;
Midfielders: Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Lenny Rodrigues, Malsawmzuala, Leon Augustine, Robinson Singh Khumukcham, Bidyananda Singh, Myron Mendes, Boithang Haokip, Alwyn George;
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Antoni Dovale, Cletus Paul, Thongkhosiem Haokip.