Khuliso Mudau feels that Sundowns are mentally stronger this year as they bid to end almost a decade of hurt and claim their second CAF Champions League trophy.

The Brazilians were winners in 2016 when they defeated Egyptian giants Zamalek 3-1 over the two-legged final.

They were also runners-up in 2001 where Al Ahly beat Sundowns 4-1 to claim their third continental title.

But the stars seem to be aligning for Mudau’s side this time around, as they progressed to the semi-finals with a hard-fought if somewhat controversial quarter-final victory over Young Africans, who had a strong case for a disallowed goal.

Sundowns proved they know what it takes to compete and win on the continent after scooping the inaugural African Football League earlier this season. And if decisions continue to go their way, both in the Champions League, as well as domestically, it is anyone’s guess as to what the runaway DStv Premiership side can achieve.

Fresh off a 1-0 league win over Cape Town Spurs, where the tie was decided by a 42nd minute penalty from Lucas Ribeiro Costa, that possibly should have been a free-kick instead, Mudau explained that it would be a shame for Sundowns’ season to end without lifting the Champions League trophy.

The Bafana defender explained in the Citizen: Obviously, we wanted to win the AFL and I think every player was ready mentally to fight. Even when we were playing away at Al-Ahly and Wydad, we were ready to give it our all.

“We promised ourselves and the technical team that we want to win the first AFL trophy and it was very important. It’s like the Champions League, it’s very important for us win it.

“Just imagine that I played for Bafana Bafana and won the bronze medal and then I don’t win the Champions League. It doesn’t make sense so it’s important for us to win the Champions League and everyone is ready to fight.”

Sundowns take on Esperance Sportive de Tunis on April 19 away from home in the first leg of their CAF semi-final ahead of the return league on 26 April.

The winner will face one of Al Ahly or TP Mazembe.