YALOVA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers) - Nigeria head into the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers ready for any and all opponents.
And the other teams in Group B - hosts Mali, Rwanda and Uganda - better be prepared for Nigeria because they will be bringing their best game, according to veteran Jeleel Akindele.
"I expect nothing from D'Tigers but absolute fight," Akindele said about the Nigerian team. "People all around Africa know what we are about and they should bring their best game because we are bringing ours."
The objective for the Lagos native Akindele and the Nigerians in the African Qualifiers is clear: "There is one goal that every team will have and that is to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup. And we are willing to fight like hell to achieve that."
It has been a while since the world has seen Nigeria. While they have played at the last two Olympics, their last appearance in FIBA's flagship competitition dates back to 2006.
"I think it's a burden. And it's time we get back to where we belong as the number one team in Africa," Akindele said. "Like every other burden and goal in life, it's very important to achieve it, and we have set our eyes on that. I am confident in the team getting there."
Nigeria won FIBA AfroBasket in 2015 and then finished second at last year's edition of Africa's top competition.
"It has driven us to the number one spot in African basketball and we plan on staying there for a while."
"The losses were taken well by the team because they were used as a learning tool so we don't repeat the same mistakes," noted Akindele, who averaged 5.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists.
"I think we responded well given that we had one of the hardest routes to the Final. We played two of the best teams in the tournament to get there and the loss in the Final only prepares us for when we next see (Tunisia)."
Asked what it was like to return to the team, he said: "I really never left the team. It was my decision not to join the team because of personal issues. But I have always had an invitation from them."
Akindele, who currently plays his club basketball with Turkish side Yalova Bid, says he is not worried about his role in next month's games.
"When you play for the national team you can't have expectations about roles. You just give your all when you are on the court," said Akindele, who first played for Nigeria in 2007.
"It doesn't take away the summer from the players and teams don't have to do training camps all over again every time they call players," he said.
Akindele knows straight away that Nigeria will always be ready with their best - and may their opponents be warned.