AUCKLAND Football Club are ready for the challenge in the Marange National Women's Soccer League following their promotion from the Northern Region Division One. The Bindura-based side became the last team to gain promotion into the local women's top-flight football after they won the national play-offs that were held at Ziscosteel Grounds in Kwekwe a week ago.
Aces Academy had won the Northern Region title and automatic promotion but Auckland, who finished second, got the second bite of the cherry when they competed against other regions runners-up and relegated Chipembere.
However, Auckland emerged triumphant as they dismissed Hwange 2-0 and Chipembere 2-1 to secure the last slot into the Premier League.
They join Aces, Burrow Gates from Southern Region and Tannex Queens from the Eastern Region as newcomers in the 12-team league.
Auckland director Edwin Magosvongwe said they are happy with their qualification and are already preparing for life in the Marange league.
"It is every team's and every player's wish to be promoted from the lower league and play at the highest and competitive level.
"We are happy that we managed to do well in the play-off matches and would now be part of the league.
"We believe playing in the national league is the right platform for our players to be selected for the national team.
"We have always done well as a team but failed to join the top-flight when the national league was formed two years ago.
"But we worked for it in our region and have finally got our chance to play in the league.
"We have already started preparing for the new season.
"In fact, we started our preparations when we were preparing for the play-offs and we have continued from there," he said.
The Auckland director says the team, which draws most of its players from SOS Children Home, would be sponsored by the SOS Village, which has always assisted the club in the Northern Region.
"The bulk of the players are from the Children's Home as our aim is to develop the disadvantaged children.
"And the company has already pledged their support this year.
"SOS has always been providing transport and paid our affiliation fees when we were playing in the region," said Magosvongwe.
Auckland club boasts of players such as Under-20 national women's soccer team players Mavis Chirandu and Barbara Soko, and would definitely not be push-overs in the league.
Gerry Mike Gumbo, the son of Tavaka Gumbo, is the coach of the team, which plays its matches at Hermann Gmeiner Primary School in Bindura.
It promises to be an exciting and competitive league this season following the promotion of a team like Aces Academy, which has some talented players.
Mighty Warriors midfielders Marjoury Nyaumwe and Sheila Makoto are some of the players that have been missing out in the top-flight as Aces was playing in the Northern Region Division One.
The women's national league was formed in 2011 and mining firm Marange Resources came on board with a sponsorship package which caters for playing kits of all the clubs, transport to match venues and accommodation.
The package has lessened the burden of the teams in the league.
Last year army side Black Rhinos Queens won the Marange National Women's Soccer League title.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Women's Football League are yet to announce the dates of the new season.