Africa: Basketball - Top Prospects At U-18 Africa Championship

Madagascar is set to witness the emergence of new stars in the 20th edition of the FIBA U-18 African Championship.

The 2022 FIBA U-18 African Championship will run from August 4-15 in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Times Sport takes a close look at some of the key players expected to make a difference in the Antananarivo showpiece.

Dick Rutatika Sano (Rwanda)

Rwanda's team captain Dick Rutatika Sano will be leading his country to Madagascar with the sole intention of proving that they deserve the tag of champions of Zone 5.

Rwanda were simply unstoppable in the final that saw them emerge champions as they stayed unbeaten against Uganda and Tanzania in the double-elimination series of the qualifiers.

Sano was in good form as he posted 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and was also awarded the MVP trophy.

This will be Rwanda's fifth appearance at the U-18 continental showcase since 2010 and Sano is expected to reproduce the performance that saw his country win the Zone 5.

Zakariya Khodja (Algeria)

At the 2016 FIBA Africa U16 Championship in Egypt, Algeria returned to winning ways finishing in third place.

That third place victory was courtesy of Zakariya Khodja who plays for US Menaceur of Algeria. He scored 19 points in his country's charge to victory over Chad.

After the victory, Khodja expressed joy that his team won bronze. "It took us alot of effort to reach this stage and we thank our coaches for their patience and sacrifice."

Ibrahim Oumar Doumbia (Mali)

Oumar Doumbia was not a member of the Mali team to the FIBA U-16 African Championship in Egypt but made the cut for the FIBA U-17 World Cup in Spain.

He was consistent at the championship recording 94 points from 7 games.

In Mali's game against Lebanon, Doumbia dropped 21 points to lead the floor for his team and another 19 points against the Dominican Republic. Although a slow starter, he becomes dangerous as the championship progresses. No doubt, Mali will be hoping that he brings his experience to help the team.

Adam Elhalawany (Egypt)

Egypt will be attempting to get a sixth title and will be banking on Adam Elhalawany.

In the 2020 final, he was the one who sank two of his three-point attempts en route to eight points in the game and was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP).

In July, he was in the Egypt team that featured at the FIBA U-17 World Cup scoring 58 points in 7 games.

Ibrahima Diallo (Guinea)

Guinea will be making a third straight appearance at the FIBA U-18 African Championship.

At the 2020 edition, the country finished 4th but will hope to make a big difference this time around with new star Ibrahima Diallo.

Diallo made his debut for Guinea at the 2019 FIBA U-16 African Championship and graduated to the U-18 team where he played at the 2020 FIBA U-18 African Championship and emerged as Guinea's youngest player during the third window of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup held in Abidjan.

Diallo will bring the experience he has garnered especially from the World Cup Qualifiers to bear on his team to help his team finish on the podium.

Looking ahead to the championship in Madagascar, Diallo told FIBA basketball recently: "We are going to need to perfect our plays, gel together, don't move like water, we know each other well, that's what is going to make us win."

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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