In a few months, Ashleigh Plumptre has established herself as one of the figures of the Nigerian team. The 24-year-old England-born defender became one of the attractions for the Super Falcons during the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
After a solid first performance despite a 2-1 defeat against South Africa, the resident of Leicester City (England) missed the matches against Botswana (2-0) and Burundi (4-0).
She returned in the quarter-finals against Cameroon (1-0) in an unusual left role for such a tall player (1.80m).
From a white house to a green tunic
Today, Tim Plumptre, Ashleigh’s father and agent, fully supports his daughter’s decision.
“Ashleigh weighed the pros and cons of foregoing the England team and Arsenal and preferring Nigeria and Leicester City.”, he said.
“Ashleigh does what she wants with football and it allows her to help others through her charities. The more success she has with Nigeria, the more interest will grow. But Ashleigh is well aware of this and is very experienced in handling pressure and time demands.”
Ashleigh Plumptre already has a rich and solid experience. After her years of English training, she went to study biology in Los Angeles.
During this period (2016-2019), she played for the USC Trojans, a Californian university with which she was crowned national champion 2016. Which also earned her an invitation a few months later to the White House.
After this American experience, however, the binational decided to return to her hometown, notably helping Leicester to climb to the English first division and becoming vice-captain of the Foxes.
Then she turned to her plan to represent Nigeria. A paying choice since the Nigerians have just qualified for the next World Cup.
“For us, her family, this is an exciting time and we all look forward to supporting her and her team in Australia-New Zealand for the 2023 Women’s World Cup,” said Tim Plumptre.
Ashleigh Plumptre, a symbol of diversity
However, all has not always been rosy for Ashleigh Plumptre. On social media, some Internet users are wondering about her presence with the Super Falcons because of her appearance.
Métis players are more common in the men’s national team (Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Cyriel Dessers, etc.).
A problem about which the young woman had opened up to the BBC, a few days after the victory against the Ivorians.
“I was always assumed to be white,” Plumptre said. “I get a lot of messages and people question my heritage a lot, but I can’t necessarily blame them. It’s a question of education”.
The number 4 does not intend to stop there, far too absorbed by her adventure with Nigeria.