Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has praised his players for making it to the final of the inaugural African Football League (AFL).

The South African side gritted out a barren draw against Egyptian giants Al-Ahly on Wednesday to cruise through to the final after winning the first leg 1-0 at home.

“Allow me to congratulate Mamelodi Sundowns in your presence. The team showed character and a lot of perseverance in what was a very difficult 97 minutes against a very strong team,” he said.

“I must be honest, I think this semi-final was won in South Africa in the first leg. That 1-0 result was very big and I would like to congratulate the entire club, the players, the management and most importantly, the supporters because when we played at home in the first leg, they pushed us over the line. They played an important role in ensuring that we get to the final,” he continued.

When asked about the injured players, he admitted that their absence has been felt but all the players are as important as they have registered important victories for the team.

“The quality of the players we are without are very important, the likes of Peter Shalulile, Lucas Ribeiro, Sipho Mbule and Thapelo Morena but the absence of others gives very good opportunities for the other players and for us to use the depth of the squad. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, I would rather focus on what we have and what we have is a group of players that are prepared to give their heart and souls to serve this football club,” he said.

The final fixture has set Masandawana to go face-to-face with Moroccan side, Wydad Casablanca on a two-legged event, sending the Pretoria side to Morocco for the first leg and concluding the competition at home