LUANDA (2016 Rio Olympics) - It's been over nine months since Milton Barros last played an official basketball game and now that he is back in action, he has set some bold goals for himself.
Back in March, while playing for his club Recrativo do Libolo in the Angola BIC League, Barros suffered a left knee injury which forced him to undergo surgery and as a result sit out AfroBasket 2015.
As well as chasing his second consecutive ACC crown, Barros is in a race against the clock to boost his chances to represent Angola at the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQTs).
"I am glad that I am able to play around eight minutes per game but more importantly that I am back in action," the 1.84m guard said to FIBA.com.
Barros, along with Olimpio Cipriano and Joaquim Gomes, was one the biggest absentees from the Angolan side at AfroBasket 2015. The team finished runners-up after losing to Nigeria in the Final and as result missed out on direct qualification for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Still, they have a second chance by participating in one of the three OQTs next summer. Eighteen teams will compete for the last three Olympic berths and Angola - who fell short at the OQT in 2012 - are set to try their chances yet.
We are going to the OQTs ready to compete, respecting our opponents but with a goal in mind. Of course securing one of the three places [for the Olympics] will be difficult but not impossible. We are going to need to remain positive to face those teams. We know that many good teams will take part in the competition, but we just need to implement our game plan and see what happens. - Barros
Asked about having to sit out AfroBasket 2015, the three-time African champion said: "It was a tough experience watching the games from home and seeing us making mistakes that we usually don't do. But the most important thing is that we still have a chance to qualify for the Olympics. For most of the duration of the AfroBasket  I kept in touch with most of my teammates. I congratulated them for the sacrifice and tenacity."
Physically I may not be hundred percent just yet, but I feel mentally strong to help Libolo win the African Cup. Back in Portugal [Libolo held a two-week training camp in Lisbon] we won five of our six preparation games. So, I feel the team is ready for the competition. - Barros
FIBA's Executive Committee will decide the host countries of the OQTs on Tuesday 19 January. The draw for the three tournaments will follow a week later.