AfroBasket qualifiers window one concludes with surprises and stellar performances


In a thrilling opening to the 2025 FIBA AfroBasket Qualifiers, basketball minnows threw down the gauntlet, challenging established powerhouses over three days of intense competition in Cairo, Egypt, and Monastir, Tunisia.

With 12 of the 20 teams vying for a coveted spot in the continental showcase, the stage was set for an epic battle of hoops.

In Cairo, the spotlight was on Group D, featuring AfroBasket reigning silver medalist Cote d’Ivoire, alongside Madagascar, Central Africa Republic, and hosts Egypt.

Despite Egypt entering the qualifiers as the frontrunners, they faced a setback, losing a closely contested match 79-76 to a determined Cote d’Ivoire team.

Under the guidance of coach Henrik Rödl, the Egyptian squad, boasting a mix of experienced players like Amr Gendy and Anas Mahmoud, and emerging talents such as Patrick Gardener and Youssef Helmy, put up a valiant fight but fell short against the Ivorians, who are eyeing redemption after their loss in the 2021 edition final to Tunisia.

However, it was Madagascar, the group underdogs, who stole the limelight by securing their first-ever AfroBasket Qualifiers win, stunning former African champions Central Africa Republic.

With France-based forward Sitraka Raharimanantoanina and sharpshooter Elly Randriamampionona leading the charge, Madagascar’s victory has put them on the path to making history and has set the stage for an intriguing second round of qualification.

Over in Monastir, the narrative of underdogs upsetting the odds continued with unranked Libya showcasing remarkable resilience and skill.

Defying their minnow status, Libya, absent from continental basketball for over a decade, emerged with a commendable 2-1 record.

Their campaign included an overtime victory against Nigeria and a win over Uganda, with players like Mohamed Sadi, Jalal Saeid, and Sofian Hamad playing pivotal roles.

Despite a narrow loss to Cape Verde, Libya’s performance has positioned them as serious contenders for a spot in next year’s AfroBasket.

Defending champions Tunisia maintained their unbeaten streak, leading the way in Group E, which also saw Kenya securing a win over Guinea.

The qualifiers have already produced memorable moments, including Uganda shooting guard Robinson Opong setting a new record for the most points scored in a single game, a testament to the individual talent and team spirit defining this year’s competition.

As the qualifiers resume in November with Groups A and C entering the fray, teams like Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia, and Cape Verde have set high benchmarks with their perfect records.

However, with the emergence of teams like Madagascar and Libya, the road to the 2025 AfroBasket promises to be filled with suspense, upsets, and basketball of the highest order.

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