The 23-year-old defender was born in England but made her competitive debut for the 11-time African Champions on Friday
Leicester City Women’s defender Ashleigh Plumptre has revealed she decided to represent Nigeria ahead of England because she wants to feel close to her family and heritage.
Plumptre was born in England and could even pass as a white woman due to the colour of her skin. The 23-year-old grew up in Leicester and represented the Three Lionesses at the youth level.
However, Plumptre qualifies to play for Nigeria through her father and grandfather, who are both Nigerians. It is an option she has taken after she made her competitive debut for the Super Falcons in their 2-0 win in the first leg of their Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ivory Coast on Friday.
Plumptre knew things could have been different, but she chose Nigeria because she wanted to connect back to her roots.
“Yes, I had experiences playing with England when I was younger and really really enjoyed them, Plumptre told NFF TV when asked why she chose to play for Nigeria.
“But I got to be honest, what football means to me now is different to what it was when I was younger.”
“And the biggest thing, I’ve said it in a few other interviews, is my family pretty much and my sister and I.”
“I have two younger brothers and one younger sister.”
Plumptre, who had a training camp with the team last year before her competitive debut, added that the bond she shares with her sister also played a major role in her decision.
“My sister and I have the same dad, so my dad’s Nigerian, my grandad was born in Lagos, and my two brothers have an English mum, and their dad’s also English.”
“So my sister’s upbringing is a little bit different to mine only because we are both Nigerian.”
“But she’s gone through things I haven’t, and we’ve been kind of interested in knowing about more of our heritage, which is based upon how she identifies herself and how I do as well.”
“So it’s only been in the last couple of years and especially last year during covid when my sister and I kind of bond over the fact that we have this Nigerian heritage.
“And for me, she’s only 11, and I feel like I can kind of help advise her on a lot of things.”
“But this is like a new journey for both of us.”
“So it’s like I’m talking her on the journey with me,” she added.