DURBAN, Dec 22 (Reuters) - South Africa received a timely boost ahead of hosting the African Nations Cup next month when they began their pre-tournament preparations with a 3-1 home win over Malawi in Durban on Saturday.
Two goals in the first 13 minutes got the home side off to a rollicking start as they swarmed over their opponents to score through Lehlohonolo Majoro and Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Both were tapped in from close range when Malawi's goalkeeper Simplex Nthala failed to deal with a seventh minute shot from Lerato Chabangu and a 13th minute cross from overlapping fullback Siboniso Gaxa.
Malawi threatened to claw their way back into the game after Joseph Kamwendo converted a penalty two minutes into the second half.
However South Africa restored their two-goal cushion with a penalty of their own 15 minutes from the end, converted by Swedish-based midfielder May Mahlangu.
Bafana Bafana play two more warm-up games against Norway on Jan. 8 and Algeria four days later before they kick off the Nations Cup at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Jan. 19 against the Cape Verde Islands. (Editing by Tom Pilcher)