AfroBasket 2025: Sitraka Raharimanantoanina ready to keep Madagascar’s dream alive


In the heart of Madagascar’s vibrant basketball scene, a towering figure stands out, not just for his impressive height of 2.09 meters (6ft 9) but for his unwavering dedication to keeping his country’s dreams alive for the FIBA AfroBasket 2025.

Sitraka Raharimanantoanina, who once as a 10-year-old marvelled at the skills displayed by African basketball powerhouses in the 2011 FIBA AfroBasket hosted in his homeland, is now a crucial player in Madagascar’s quest for a spot in the upcoming tournament.

During the first window of the 2025 AfroBasket Qualifiers held in Egypt, Raharimanantoanina averaged an impressive 12.7 points and 7 rebounds per game, showcasing his skills and determination.

His performance was particularly stellar when Madagascar faced the Central African Republic, a rematch of the 2021 qualifiers in Rwanda.

Unlike the previous encounter, Madagascar emerged victorious, thanks in large part to Raharimanantoanina’s contribution of 14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks, leading to a 76-69 win.

Reflecting on the victory and looking ahead, Raharimanantoanina emphasizes the need for better preparation.

“I feel we’re getting to where we want to be, but we need more means to achieve the best possible results,” he told FIBA.

He pointed out the team’s need for additional post players to strengthen their lineup and highlighted the importance of experience in critical moments of the game.

Despite these challenges, Raharimanantoanina remains optimistic about Madagascar’s potential, praising the team’s fast-paced gameplay and their ability to challenge even the strongest opponents.

“With that kind of play, we could have surprised Cote d’Ivoire. We could have beaten them if we had the experience we need at this level,” he asserted.

Madagascar basketball player celebrate after a past match. PHOTO: FIBA

Madagascar’s journey in the qualifiers has been a rollercoaster, with tough losses against Cote d’Ivoire and Egypt. However, the crucial win against the Central African Republic has boosted the team’s confidence.

Raharimanantoanina is mindful of the challenges that lie ahead, particularly the anticipated rematch against the Central African Republic, and the need for strategic focus against Cote d’Ivoire and Egypt.

In his advocacy for the future of Madagascar basketball, Raharimanantoanina calls for the inclusion of young players who participated in the FIBA U19 World Cup in 2023.

He believes that integrating these players into the national team will build their experience and prepare Madagascar for future success.

Currently playing for ALM Evreux Basket in France’s Pro B league, Raharimanantoanina is eagerly anticipating his next call-up to represent Madagascar.

“Of course I will suit up once again for Madagascar. It’s my country, and I consider it an honor to be able to wear those colors,” he expressed with pride,” said Raharimanantoanina

As Madagascar continues its journey towards the 2025 FIBA AfroBasket, Raharimanantoanina’s leadership and skills on the court symbolize the nation’s hopes and dreams in the sport.

His story, from a young spectator to a key player on the national team, inspires a new generation of Malagasy basketball players to aspire for greatness on the international stage.

With Raharimanantoanina at the forefront, Madagascar’s basketball future shines brighter than ever, filled with the promise of achieving new heights and showcasing the island nation’s talent to the world.

Looking ahead, Madagascar faces formidable challenges in the remaining qualifiers, with adversaries like Cote d’Ivoire and Egypt looming large.

However, with Raharimanantoanina leading the charge and a promising blend of experience and youth within their ranks, the Ankoay are poised to overcome adversity and carve their place among Africa’s basketball elite.

As the nation rallies behind its basketball heroes, Raharimanantoanina stands as a symbol of hope and inspiration, embodying the spirit of perseverance and passion that defines Madagascar’s sporting ethos. With each dribble, rebound, and basket, he brings Madagascar one step closer to realizing its AfroBasket dreams, igniting a fervor that reverberates throughout the island nation.

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