HAPPY days are back for football enthusiasts in Mpumalanga.
The majority of soccer devotees in the province did not have enough sleep on Saturday night as they celebrated the promotion of Mpumalanga Black Aces to the Absa Premiership.
AmaZayoni's feat enthralled the people of Mpumalanga who have been without a top flight soccer team for more than a decade since the demise of Veli Mahlangu's Witbank Black Aces.
AmaZayoni earned promotion after they walloped a wretched Thanda Royal Zulu side 3-0 at Chatsworth Stadiun in Durban.
The two had played to a goalless draw in the first leg of the National First Division playoffs in Witbank a fortnight ago.
Aces should also thank their travelling supporters whose singing and dancing at on the stands gave the visitors an extra spur to tame Amabhubesi.
Goals by Setjhaba Mmuso and Lehumo Itshegetseng in the first half sent the travelling party into wild celebrations. Their third goal was a stoppage time effort from the equally impressive Lindokhuhle Mbatha.
Itshegetseng, who was excusably voted the man of the match, said Aces triumphed because they play as a team.
"I was happy with my performance, I was equally happy with the way the entire team played. I want to thank the coach [Sammy Troughton] for giving me a chance to play. We will try hard to compete in the elite league," said the shy Itshegetseng, who Aces recruited from Arthur "10111" Zwane's Galatasaray of Soweto.
Troughton, who joined Aces from Free State Stars in January, was not surprised by his charges' success "because they really gave it all in the match".
George Morfou, Aces' co-chairperson, hailed all his players for a sterling job they did for the club from the first match of the season.
"We have assembled players who demonstrated immeasurable commitment for this team. We would not have attained our goal in playing in the Premiership without such players on board," he said.
Morfou said they will meet as the management to plan for the season ahead. He would not say who was likely to be off-loaded, but pointed out that they will also recruit new players.
On his coach, he did not beat about the bush when he stressed that "Troughton is staying put at the team".
Aces will hosts their matches at Ackerville Stadium in eMalahleni.