Ashleigh Plumptre is a 23 year old footballer who was raised in England but was born to a Nigerian father making her Nigerian by birth. She has played football all over the world from England to America and is now officially playing in the Women’s Super League for this season. In the latter part of 2021, Ashleigh came to Nigeria for the first time while playing with the Super Falcons and it was quite the experience for her.
In a new interview with The Punch, Ashleigh opens up about her decision to play with the Super Falcons, her connection to Nigeria, and her reaction to Nigerian food.
During the interview, Ashleigh was asked, “Why did you choose to play for the Super Falcons?“. She responded:
I had experiences playing with England when I was younger and I really enjoyed them. I have to be honest, what football means to me now is different from what it was when I was younger. The biggest thing to me now is my family pretty much. I have two younger brothers and one younger sister. My sister and I have the same dad. My dad is Nigerian, my grand dad was born in Lagos, my two brothers have an English mum and their dad’s also English. My sister’s hue is a bit different to mine but we’re both Nigerian, but she has one or two things that I haven’t and we’ve been interested in knowing more about our heritage based on how she identifies herself and how I do as well. It’s only been in the last couple of years especially last year during the Coronavirus pandemic when my sister and I kind of bonded over the fact that we had this Nigerian heritage. She’s only 11 and I feel like I can help and advise her on a lot of things, so it’s like I’m taking her on a journey with me.
“Are you learning the Nigerian culture and what’s the feeling like since you started training with the team?”
I’m trying to learn through my sister and my grandfather at the moment and the physio helps me anytime I see her; she tries to teach me Yoruba words. I can learn as much as I want when I’m in England but you’ll never get the real feel if you’re actually not here. The little things are just fascinating. I’m here for football but I’m learning about things that are just as important that I’ll probably take for granted at home.
“What do you think about the food?”
The food is really interesting. At home, my step mum cooks it and she was taught by my aunt. My step mum is white and British, my dad is Nigerian and he doesn’t even cook the food. Everything I have at home is always super hot, hotter than it is here but at home, I have to have milk with it because it’s so hot. At home I love moi moi. The jollof rice here is not as spicy as it is at home, which is great. I had to adapt because my stomach, for the first two days, was hurting because the food was different. But I feel like I’m accustomed to it now and I said to my family that I’m trying to have something different every day just to tell them what I’ve had. I feel like English food is pretty bland, so it’s always good to try something that has a little more flavour.
Other pictures from Ashleigh’s Trip:
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