Madagascar claimed a victory over Seychelles on the opening day of the 2016 Cosafa Castle Cup, while Zimbabwe and Swaziland played to a 2-2 draw.
Madagascar defeated their island rivals to move to the top of Group A after the opening round of matches in front of an enthusiastic crowd and following a dazzling opening ceremony.
Zimbabwe and Swaziland played to a thrilling 2-2 draw in the tournament opener after the Warriors were forced to twice come from behind.
Swaziland will be disappointed they could not claim the win after having a number of chances to kill off the game.
They were ahead on 16 minutes when Felix Badenhorst headed home following a cross from Sifiso Mabila.
And they continued to pepper the goal of Zimbabwe goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva, who had to be alert to keep a number of efforts at bay.
The teams went into the break at 1-0 though and in the second half it was Zimbabwe who started the brighter.
The experienced Obadiah Tarumbwa headed home the equaliser from a cross by Tazenda Mudehwe but that goal sparked Swaziland back into life and after Ronald Pfumbidzai had cleared off the line for Zimbabwe, they were awarded a penalty when Warriors skipper Danny Phiri was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
Badenhorst stepped up to coolly slot home his second of the game.
Zimbabwe poured forward in search of another equaliser and it came in excellent fashion when Elisha Muroiwa executed a bicycle-kick on 79 minutes to bring them level again.
There were scrambles in the box at both ends after that, but neither side could find a winner.
Madagascar claimed their victory after a goal from Claudel Fanomenza as he beat the offside trap.
They also missed a number of other chances to seal the game as Dina Razanakoto struck the post late on, but move to the top of their pool to get their campaign off to a positive start.
Sunday’s matches see Lesotho take on Mauritius at 15h00 at the Independence Stadium, before the young Angolan selection play Malawi at the same venue at 18h30.
Angola are three-time champions of the Cosafa Castle Cup but have selected their Under-20 side for this event as they seek to build for the future.
But they come up against an experienced Malawi side looking to make up for their loss to Zimbabwe in the Nations Cup qualifier earlier this month. They also drew with Namibia in a friendly this week.
Lesotho are previous finalists in the Cosafa Castle Cup but both they and Mauritius have battled to get out of the first round of the competition on a regular basis over the last decade.
Zimbabwe 2 (Tarumbwa 56’, Muroiwa 79’) Swaziland 2 (Badenhorst 16’, 65’)
Seychelles 0 Madagascar 1 (Fanomenza 21’)
Lesotho vs Mauritius (KO 3pm local, 2pm GMT) – Independence Stadium
Malawi vs Angola (KO 6.30pm local, 5.30pm GMT) – Independence Stadium