It was all so different for Algeria's Rafik Saifi in Khartoum [EPA]
Algeria opened their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a disheartening 3-0 defeat to Malawi in a performance that gave their upcoming World Cup opponents little to fear.

Malawi, ranked 99th in the world, dominated play on Monday to go top of Group A against a team featuring nine starters from November's South Africa 2010 playoff triumph against Egypt in Sudan.

Russel Mwafulirwa, Elvis Kafoteka and Davi Banda gave Malawi three points to put them two points clear in the group following Angola's 4-4 draw with Mali the night before.

It is Malawi's first win in only their second appearance in the competition, having last appeared in 1984.

"It's amazing it's amazing," said midfielder Hellings Mwakasungula.

"But we play as a team, our team has no big stars we just believe in ourselves.

"We came here to play Algeria and we knew what to expect.

"We're really happy but we want to ask Algeria to keep up on the pace because they are going to represent us in the World Cup.

"They should not lose their focus just because they lost today."

Algeria, ranked 26 in the official Fifa standings, face England, the United States and Slovenia in World Cup Group C in June.

Glasgow Rangers centre back Madjid Bougherra said Algeria had been affected by the 32C conditions after ther match kicked off in hot sunshine at 14.25 local time (13.25GMT).

Too hot

"It was hard because of the conditions, the weather - it was very, very hot," he said.

"We have a lot of players playing in Europe at the moment coming from playing in the cold and the snow and we come here at three o'clock and it's impossible. We tried to do our best but you can't run, you can't do nothing.

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"The game is 90 minutes so we need to learn to be cool.

"Of course it's hard to lose 3-0 but it's football and we know inside our hearts we can do better.

"We have got the motivation and now we need to win."

Malawi went ahead in the 17th minute when Esau Kanyenda chased a long ball and the Algerian centre backs got in a mixup with keeper Faouzi Chaouchi.

The ball fell to Norrkoping striker Russel, who finished high into the roof of the net.

Nine minutes before half time, right back Kafoteka rose highest to head home a Moses Chavula cross after a short corner from Peter Wadabwa.

The second half was only three minutes old when Banda pounced on a rebound from the post to thump home the third.

Last action hero

It proved to be Banda's last action in the match, being stretchered off after a nasty collision as he hit his shot.

Algeria carved out a few half chances, but Malawi - with more Fifa ranking places than fans in the near empty November 11 stadium - looked more composed throughout.

Malawi now face hosts Angola on January 14, with Algeria playing Mali on the same day.

Cote d'Ivoire drew 0-0 with Burkina Faso in Cabinda in the first Group B match on Monday, while Ghana have been told to prepare for the second scheduled fixture despite the departure of Togo.

The Togolese government ordered the players home after three of their party were killed when their bus was attacked by separatist fighters on Friday.

The Confederation of African Football say Togo will not be able to continue in the competition if they do not play Ghana.

Source: Al Jazeera