Leicester City Women and newly invited Super Falcons player in Austria, Ashley Plumptre has opened up on why she decided to switch allegiance from England to Nigeria.
“When I was young, I played about 35 times for the English Youth team. That was like from U-15 to U-23. In the last year and a half, I have been discussing with my family on how to get into the Nigerian set up which was quite a quick turnaround. I expressed my interest which gone out in the media. Through coach Randy Waldrum, I got my first call up to come to Austria.”
“I was brought up in England. My grandfather is from Lagos and my dad is half Nigerian likewise my sister. I have a Nigerian dad and a white mum. My sister looked a little different from me. Not a lot a people expect me to have a Nigerian heritage in me. Looking at my sister, even though we had the same dad, she looked quite different from me. He skin tone is quite darker than mine and she has a different hair texture. With that, she had different experiences growing up at the age of eleven. She resonates with her Nigerian heritage. She is trying to teach me the Yoruba language. I felt like it’s right to join the Nigerian National team which is like a journey for me and my sister. This will make me learn a lot about the culture with the girls here. I haven’t been to Nigeria which I and my sister wanted to do. She is a Nigerian in England with different experiences growing up and in school that I have. As much as I am learning from her, she can also learn from me being here as well. It’s nice because my sister is my whole heart.” She told Super Falcons Media Officer, Oluchi Tobe-Chukwu.
Ashley Plumptre who has met Lewes FC forward, Ini Umotong before now spoke glowingly about her teammates and coach Randy Waldrum after her first training session with the team.
She said: “My teammates here have been welcoming. I knew Ini Umotong before coming here. It’s a little bit nervous coming into a new environment. I am just excited to learn and embrace what the environment is all about. With that, I can learn not just football but cultural things that I am not necessarily used to. I am excited to learn even during dinner I can learn from players’ experiences in football and life. I think that is important for me especially joining this team and being new. Not having any experience.”
“I didn’t know Coach Randy Waldrum before now but had a coach in America who knew him and spoke highly of him. I know that he has a good résume and has done a lot of things in America. He has been very successful over there and I know he is coming out here with a fresh outlook. From our first training, I can see what he is trying to implement on the team. The competitive edge creates an environment for everybody to thrive. I felt that from the day I arrived here.”
Super Falcons are in Austria as part of the preparation for the Aisha Buhari Invitation Tournament. Ashley Plumptre is looking forward to the tournament and hopes she can make the final list by Coach Randy Waldrum.
“It will be a huge honour to be selected for the Aisha Buhari Cup. I have heard about the Invitational Tournament and what it stands for which will bring top teams in Africa together. I like the fact that the tournament will promote young girls which is brilliant. I don’t just play football to play, I like to influence the field of play. To be included in that squad, I just have to train as I can and enjoy every moment. Hopefully, I can be selected for the tournament.”
“I play for Leicester City Football Club for a year and a half now. I am going into my second official season with the club which has just been promoted from the Championship to the English FA Women’s Super League. That’s like from the second to the First Division. The club has only been a professional team for just the past year (2020).” She concluded.