In the hunt for CAF Champions League glory, Bongani Zungu asserts that Mamelodi Sundowns' array of 2023 AFCON stars could be the decisive factor this season.

The Brazilians, despite numerous successes, have been chasing the elusive CAF Champions League title since their last victory in 2016.

Recent years have seen Tshwane giants, Sundowns, come tantalizingly close, reaching the semi-finals last year but falling short of clinching the coveted continental club trophy. The Chloorkop-based side, however, received a boost as they secured a spot in the quarter-finals with a convincing 2-0 win over Nouadhibou from Mauritania on Saturday.

Coach Rulani Mokwena’s squad, with one more group game to play, are fuelled by the belief that this could be their year. Bongani Zungu, discussing his adapted centre-back role under Mokwena, expressed confidence in the team’s ability to go all the way in the competition.

“At Sundowns, nobody has a fixed position. My role is as a center-back, but I also overload in the midfield,” Zungu explained to the Sundowns media department.

Reflecting on their experiences from the previous year’s competition, he added, “Last year’s competition taught us a lot. Now, with that experience and the players who shone at AFCON, we have the capacity to challenge for this year’s competition.”

Zungu highlighted the instrumental players like Teboho Mokoena, Ronwen Williams, and Themba Zwane, who showcased their skills at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, are crucial components of Sundowns’ strategy.

With their final group match against TP Mazembe scheduled for 3 March at Loftus Versveld Stadium, Sundowns are gearing up to face the formidable opponent with the aim of progressing further in the CAF Champions League.