19 February, 2024
25 February, 2025
22 Sitraka Raharimanantoanina (MAD)
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Raharimanantoanina keeping Madagascar’s 2025 AfroBasket dreams alive


EVREUX (France) – Back in 2011, Madagascar hosted and participated in the FIBA AfroBasket. A young Sitraka Raharimanantoanina, then aged 10, watched awestruck as Tunisia, Egypt, Angola and other African powerhouses battled on the court of the Palais des Sports in Mahamas.

Years passed and the now 2,09m (6ft 9) tall power forward wants to be a major actor in Madagascar's quest for a 2025 FIBA AfroBasket ticket.

Averaging 12.7 points and 7 rebounds per game during the first window of the 2025 AfroBasket Qualifiers in Egypt, he became Madagascar’s X-factor when they met and beat the Central African Republic, in a remake of the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket Qualifiers in Rwanda.

But this time, the Wild Beasts did not steal the limelight.

He finished the game with 14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and as many blocks, all enough for the Ankoay to win the game 76-69.

And now that the first round is behind, he is looking forward to the distant future.

Madagascar left Cairo with a 1-2 streak

But he calls for a better preparation ahead of the next round, lest Madagascar could be seen out of the race.

"I feel we're getting to where we want to be, but we need more means to achieve the best possible results," he says, speaking to FIBA.basketball.

He adds that Madagascar have all the talent, but could do more with the help of one or two supplementary post players. "Looking at our previous games, this is where we have been the weakest. We don't have as many big men as the other teams, and it has always played against us," he notes.


He further adds that experience plays a key role at this level. "This is what we lacked at some point. We couldn’t take the right shots, or keep the ball when we had to, specially towards the end of the games."

But it's not all so dark. Things have turned out relatively well for the Ankoay, who returned home with a crucial and historic win. He notes with some excitement that the Malagasy side are a well-oiled machinery, who practices a fast-paced game.

"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."

Suffering two losses against 2021 AfroBasket silver medalists Cote d’Ivoire and Egypt transformed the match against Central African Republic into a do-a-or-die situation. “But I’m glad we walked away with this victory.”


Now that the confidence levels are high, Madagascar still need to be cautious in the next round. “Central African Republic will be back more revengeful than ever. We will need to be very careful in what we do.”

More so, he is also reflecting on the next games against Cote d'Ivoire and Egypt. "We gave them a tough time at some point. So, we need to work on our strengths. When looking at it, we can beat any team. But we need to be focused."

Advocating for the inclusion of the young players who made it to the FIBA U19 World Cup in 2023, Raharimanantoanina suggests that the more they play, the more experience they will build ahead of the next major tournaments.

"We've seen Jerry (Pepin Rabibisoa) included in the squad and it turned out rather well. So, it's only logical that their next step is the men’s national team. They need time on the court so they get more acquainted to high-level of basketball."

Even though he's back to France and his club, Pro B’s ALM Evreux Basket, he is already thinking about his next call-up.

"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. I take much pride in being part of that 12-men squad, which is proof that the Malagasy Basketball Federation trusts me."