Seventeen were scored in the three games played, as Angola trounced Seychelles 8-0 and Malawi were too powerful for Comoros Islands as they recorded a 4-0 success.
Francisco Mwepu opened the scoring for Zambia after just five minutes, before Crawford Mwaba doubled the advantage in the first half.
Livewire Jimmy Mukeya then grabbed a second-half brace to give the scoreline a more emphatic look, as Ricky Banda added a late fifth to get his name on the scoresheet.
Zambia never appeared too troubled in the game and it is a confident start for coach Oswald Mutapa, who led the country’s Under-17 side to the COSAFA trophy in that age-group in October.
Patrick Mwaungulu scored a hat-trick for Malawi in the other game in Group A as they swept to victory and confirmed their promise as a team to watch at this competition.
He got his third in injury-time to complete the first ‘treble’ of the tournament, with Francisco Madinga grabbing the other goal for the Young Flames.
Angola made a real statement of intent in their Group C opener as they stuck eight past Seychelles, who were making a return to the competition for the first time since 2016.
Angola were set on their way by Fernando dos Santos’ headed opener after just seven minutes and led 5-0 at halftime, before adding three more in the second period.
Miguèl Afonso and Ambrosini Salvador netted a brace each, while there were also goals for Tangu Gastão, Santos Kiaku and Camilo Mbulu.
The action continues on Thursday when defending champions South Africa take to the field at the Sunset Stadium against Mauritius in Group B (kick-off 15h30).
South Africa have a new coach in former Bafana Bafana star Helman Mkhalele, and a new-look team with most of the players who were successful in lifting the trophy in 2017 and 2018 now moved up to the Under-23s.
It makes them unpredictable in the competition as the players find their feet at this level, but they will hope to replicate the 5-0 victory they got against the Mauritians in their opener last year.
The other match in Group B sees Lesotho take on Madagascar (12h45), with the islanders making a return to the competition for the first time since 2013.
The Malagasy are the only other side outside of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia to lift this trophy, which they won in 2005.
There is also the second game in Group C to kick-off the day’s action as Mozambique play Eswatini (10h00).
Both will come in with high expectations, but know they will need to get a win in this game with heavyweights Angola also in the pool.
Only the top team in each group advances to the semifinals, along with the best-placed runner-up.
Angola 8 (Dos Santos 7′, Salvador 10′ 56′, Afonso 18′, 45′, Kiaku 39′ Gastão 83′, Mbulu 84′) Seychelles 0
Comoros Islands 0 Malawi 4 (Mwaungulu 28′, 66′, 90′, Madinga 58′)
Zambia 5 (Mwepu 5′, Mwaba 34′ Mukeya 64′, 80’, Banda 85’) Botswana 0
10h00 (08h00 GMT): Mozambique vs Eswatini – Sunset Stadium
12h45 (10h45 GMT): Lesotho vs Madagascar – Sunset Stadium
15h30 (13h30 GMT): South Africa vs Mauritius – Sunset Stadium