Senegal ran out 3-1 winners over Liberia in Dakar. They fell behind to a second minute goal from Francis Doe, before Newcastle striker Papiss Demba Cisse missed an early chance from the penalty spot.
On the half-hour mark, Senegal were level through Osasuna's Ibrahima Balde, before the tie swung heavily in their favour when Solomon Grimes was sent off for two bookings in the space of one second-half minute.
With a man advantage, Senegal rallied and were soon ahead through prolific FC Copenhagen striker Dame Ndoye, before Olympic squad member Sadio Mane added a third in the final few minutes.
Ivory Coast started their new era under coach Sabri Lamouchi with a comfortable 2-0 win over Tanzania in Abidjan.
Released Chelsea winger Salomon Kalou put the hosts ahead after just nine minutes to calm any nerves the hosts may have had, but Tanzania, ranked 145th in the world, would not roll over in the face of the Ivorians' might.
Lamouchi made changes on the hour-mark to try and break down the stubborn South African opponents, with the substitutions making an immediate impact. Kader Keita broke towards the box, feeding striker Didier Drogba to fire home and seal a comfortable win for the hosts.
Elsewhere in Group C, Gambia drew 1-1 with Morocco.
Africa Cup of Nations champions Zambia slumped to a disappointing 2-0 away defeat away to Sudan in their opening Group D encounter.
The Falcons of Jedaine took the lead early in the second-half through Mohamed Tahir, before Saifeldin Ali added a second with 20 minutes remaining.
For the champions of Africa, it was a humbling experience, having been outplayed by their East African rivals. With Ghana having started the group in fine style on Friday, it is three dropped points for Herve Renard's men.
In Group E, Congo travelled to Ouagadougou and held hosts Burkina Faso to a 0-0 draw in a forgettable encounter. Both sides take a point for their World Cup qualifying campaigns: a result that will mean far more for the visitors than the Stallions of Burkina Faso.
Group F saw Kenya draw 0-0 with Malawi in Nairobi, with Nigeria set to meet Namibia in Lagos on Sunday.
Algeria crushed Rwanda 4-0 in Group H with El Arbi Soudani on target twice. The striker scored late in each half, with Sofiane Feghouli getting the opener and Islam Slimani the third.
Cameroon beat Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 in Yaounde to start their Group I campaign with a win.
Mainz forward Maxim Choupo-Moting gave the hosts victory with a twice-taken penalty, after the referee ruled that Congolese keeper Muteba Kidiaba had strayed off his line to make the initial save.
Foxi Kethevoama grabbed a brace to earn Central African Republic a 2-0 win over Botswana in Group A.
In Group B, Tunisia survived a scare before opening with a 3-1 win over Equatorial Guinea. The minnows led 1-0 at the break thanks to Rouhen Epitie, but the hosts levelled in the 51st minute through Issam Jemaa.
Half-time substitute Hamdi Harbaoui made it 2-1 five minutes later and another replacement, Chadi Hammami, sealed the win two minutes from time.
Sierra Leone beat the Cape Verde Islands 2-1, first-half goals from Mohamed Medo and Salifu Samura putting them in control before Ze Luis pulled one back at the death.