Nambia defeat Mauritius 2-1 in Cosafa Cup opening match
Namibia survived a late Mauritius rally to complete a 2-1 victory as the Cosafa Cup got off to a lively start in Zambia.
Petrus Shitembe and Pinehas Jakob scored first-half goals as The Brave Warriors controlled the Group A opener in Lusaka.
Mauritius tried to fight back in the second half in front of a near-capacity Nkoloma Stadium crowd, with Jean Pierre halving the deficit five minutes from time to set up a tense finish.
The withdrawals of Tanzania and replacements Equatorial Guinea have cut Group A to three teams.
The Seychelles open their campaign on Monday against Namibia.
Namibia need one more win to secure first place and a quarter-final against South Africa next weekend.
"Victory over Mauritius has removed a lot of pressure from my shoulders," admitted Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti.
"We now have a good chance of making the knock-out stages, although we must become more clinical in front of goal to go all the way."
Mauritius coach Akbar Patel lamented that his team only started challenging after falling two goals behind in the Zambian capital.
"We must learn to play well in both halves if we are to start winning matches," stressed Patel.
The game provided an encouraging start to the 15-day southern African championship which features 12 members plus 'guests' Kenya.
Kenya's opening Group B game against Lesotho has been moved to Monday following the late arrival of the Harambee Stars in Zambia.
Botswana and Swaziland complete Group B with newcomers Kenya tipped to lead the final standings.
Former champions Angola, South Africa, Zambia and title-holders Zimbabwe received byes to the quarter-finals along with Malawi and Mozambique.