South Africa beat hosts Malawi 4-1 in their Group A opener, the latter making their debut in the competition.
Andielle Mibe scored a brace of goals in the first half and Mabahle Mdelwa got another as South Africa led 3-0.
Mbalangwe pulled one back for Malawi, but the comprehensive win was complete when Khutso Mogano added a fourth for the visitors.
South Africa next face Namibia on Saturday, while Malawi also take on the latter in their final pool match on Monday.
The Boys’ TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations | COSAFA Qualifier will get under way on Friday with just a single match in Group A that will see hosts Malawi take on Botswana (kick-off 20h00 CAT).
There has been a late change to the fixtures with Angola withdrawn after some of their players failed eligibility tests, meaning there are now only three teams in Group A. Namibia are the other side.
Group B will starts on Saturday when Seychelles take on South Africa in Group B (kick-off 15h30 CAT), while Zambia meet Mozambique in the other game in the pool at 18h30 CAT.
The top team teams in each pool advance to the semifinals, with the two finalists in this year’s competition qualifying for the TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria early next year.
With last year’s winners Angola no longer taking part, it looks an open field with any number of teams able to rise and take the trophy.
All matches will be streamed live on COSAFA.TV and FIFA