Namibia netted a late equaliser to pick up a point in their debut at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Mauritania on Monday.
It proved a bright start but followed on a 2-0 loss for fellow COSAFA members Mozambique, who went down to Uganda earlier in the day.
Left-back Penuua Kandjii levelled the score late on in the Group B match at the Cheikha Ould Boidiya Stadium in Nouakchott, after Flory Jean Michael Yangao had handed the Central African Republic the lead in the 53rd minute.
Namibia had dominated early, belying the fact they were making their first appearance at the African youth championship, and created several chances. Kandjii smashed the ball against Central African Republic post in the seventh minute.
But Namibia conceded first when Central African Republic right-back Yangao powered a shot into the roof of the net, only for Kandjii to restore parity with time running out.
In the group’s other game, Burkina Faso and Tunisia played out a goalless draw, leaving all four sides with one point.
Earlier, in Group A, Uganda beat the Mambinhas with a Derrick Kakooza’s penalty in the 55th minute and a long range strike from Steven Sserwadda three minutes from time.
The East Africans dominated proceedings at the Stade Olympique Stadium in Nouakchott, forcing their fellow debutants to defend deep.
Aylton gave away the penalty for handball as the Mambinhas were shaky in defence and outplayed.
Mozambique must now beat hosts Mauritania in their next match on Wednesday to get themselves on course for the knockout stage.
Mauritania lost to Cameroon in the opening game of the tournament on Sunday.
Namibia’s next game is on Thursday against Tunisia.