The Brave Warriors saw their first half lead cancelled by the spirited Burundi side with the last minute goal in the Group C match.
It was a game of two halves at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday as the hosts controlled the first period and the visitors taking charge after the break.
Namibia head coach Bobby Samaria paraded an experienced starting team with the likes of Aninias Gebhardt, Petrus Shitembi, Deon Hotto, Denzil Haoseb all included.
South African Premier League top scorer and best player Peter Shalulile was named to lead the attack for the Brave Warriors.
And it was the talisman Shalulile who scored the opening goal of the game to put Namibia in front in the 10th minute with a wonderful strike to beat goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana.
Burundi came into second half as the better side having forced Namibia goalkeeper Lloydt Kazapua to make two crucial saves deny the visitors the equaliser with both efforts coming from Cedric Amissi.
Kazakhstan based striker Bonfilscaleb Bimenyimana scored very late in the game to rescue a point for the Swallows with his very first competitive goal to put the Burundi on level terms.
Bimenyimana was sent off moments later after receiving a second caution for removing his shirt while celebrating the equalising goal.
Both countries with a point each will take a temporal lead in Group C as favourites Cameroon were on standby and be in action against Burundi on matchday two later on.
Gambia 1-0 South Sudan
Gambia started their qualifying campaign for the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations with a narrow 1-0 win over a determined South Sudan side on Saturday.
The Scorpions, who were one of the surprise teams at the recent AFCON in Cameroon, won the match thanks to a strike by Ablie Jallow just before the break.
The Secretary birds were determined to cause an upset at the Lat Dior stadium in the Group G match and created several anxious moments for the home side playing in Senegal.
But Gambia managed to control the attacking prowess of their opponents and should have done better in the first-half when they also had opportunities to score more goals.
Their victory was sealed just before the break when Musa Barrow played Jallow through and the striker made no mistake in putting the ball beyond goalkeeper Juma Jenard Awad.
Gambia are now equal on three points with Mali who beat Congo 4-0 in the group’s other game of the day. The Scorpions travel to face Congo while Mali plays South Sudan.
Niger 1-1 Tanzania
Daniel Sosah scored the equalizer as Niger came from a goal down to play to a 1-1 draw with Tanzania in their opening Group F match for the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations in Cotonou on Saturday.
The home side had been stunned early on when George Mpole scored inside the first minute.
It was a brilliant start for the Taifa Stars as they picked their hands on the controls, giving them a good opportunity to press their hosts under pressure.
However the home side were pushed in to ensure they got something.
Sossa drew them level 26th minute when he finished off a pass from Youssef Oumarrou.
Despite pressure in the second half and more chances to score but they couldn’t extend the score.