The COSAFA region will have a total of nine sides competing in the expanded group stages of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup competitions this season.
Four sides are through to the next stage of the Champions League, including cup holders Mamelodi Sundowns, and another five in the Confederation Cup.
Here is a quick synopsis of the teams who have qualified for each competition.
CAPS UNITED (ZIMBABWE)
United caused the shock of competition so far when the ousted DR Congo giants TP Mazembe on way goals in the last round, a sign that they will be no push-overs in the pool stages. The Zimbabwe champions have returned to the competition for the first time since being disqualified in 2006 and have reached the group stages of an African club competition for the first time in their history.
FERROVIÁRIO BEIRA (MOZAMBIQUE)
Ferroviário Beira are appearing in the Champions League for the first time in their 93-year history after claiming their domestic championship in 2016. Both previous appearances in the Confederation Cup resulted in first round exits in 2006 and 2014. They defeated Zanzibar outfit Zimamoto and Liberian side Barrack Young Controllers to reach this stage of the competition.
MAMELODI SUNDOWNS (SOUTH AFRICA)
The defending champions squeezed past Ugandan side KCCA in the last round, with that tie coming during a dip in form for the South African champions. But they look to have lifted their form again and will be among the leading contenders again this year, even if they have suffered the loss of key man Keagan Dolly to French outfit Montpellier.
ZANACO are hoping to emulate compatriots ZESCO United in reaching the Champions League semifinals, with the latter ousted at that stage by Mamelodi Sundowns last year. ZANACO have reached this stage of the competition for the first time in their history, but did reach the group stage of the Confederation Cup in 2010.
MBABANE SWALLOWS (SWAZILAND)
Swallows have made the pool stages of an African club competition having only made it past the preliminary stages on one occasion, some 22 years ago, in eight previous attempts. After defeating Botswana side Orapa United 4-2 on aggregate in the preliminary round this year, Swallows stunned Tanzanian outfit Azam FC 3-1 over two legs, and then edged top Congo-Brazzaville side AC Leopards 4-3 in the play-off round for a stunning success and arguably the greatest moment in the club’s history.
PLATINUM STARS (SOUTH AFRICA)
Stare are at this stage of the competition for the first time in their history having not competed on the continent since 2008. Wins over União Desportiva do Songo (Mozambique), Vipers (Uganda) and AS Tanda (Ivory Coast) to reach this stage. Dikwena had a difficult first half of the South African season, but have shown much better form in 2017.
RECREATIVO DESPORTIVO DO LIBOLO (ANGOLA)
Recreativo are in the Confederation Cup group stages for the first time but did make the pool phase of the Champions League in 2013. They have been in good form so far in 2017 and edged COSAFA rivals CNaPS Sport from Madagascar in the last round on the away goals rule. They will be tough to beat in Libolo.
SUPERSPORT UNITED (SOUTH AFRICA)
The South African Cup holders have reached the pool stages of this competition for the first time in their history at the fifth attempt. United have tended to blow hot and cold this year, but reached this stage with wins over ASSM Elgeco Plus (Madagascar), Al Ahly Shendi (Sudan) and Barrack Young Controllers (Liberia).
ZESCO UNITED (ZAMBIA)
Last year’s Champions League semifinalists ZESCO stormed into the Confederation Cup group stages with a 5-2 aggregate win over Nigerian side Enugu Rangers. They have reached this stage of the competition for the first time in their history, and will be among the Dark Horses to go all the way.