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Sunday, November 27, 2022

FIFA grants former England youth international Ashleigh Plumptre permission to play for Nigeria

Former England young international Ashleigh Plumptre has been granted permission to swap her allegiance to Nigeria by FIFA. 

Because to her father’s Nigerian ancestry, Ashleigh, a 23-year-old midfielder for Leicester City in the Women’s Super League, is now eligible to represent the African champions. 

She has been approved by FIFA and is eligible for Nigeria’s 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations play-off against Ivory Coast in February after attending training camps in Austria and Abuja. 

Ademola Olajire, NFF director of media, told BBC Sport Africa, “We are thrilled to get Ashleigh’s formal approval from Fifa.”  

“It would not have been feasible without her effort and commitment.” She made the work of the federation a lot simpler by supplying all of the needs in a timely manner. 

“Ashleigh addressed the English Football Association directly to obtain the necessary international permission.” 

“Her professionalism and unwavering passion to represent Nigeria is very inspiring. That bold action on her side clearly paid off, since it avoided a lengthy wait for the FA’s decision.” 

Plumptre, who was born in England and had a British mother, was capped 30 times by England as a child, but qualified for Nigeria due to the grandparent rule.  

The centre-back needed to prove her eligibility, so she spent three months obtaining all of the necessary documents, including a Nigerian passport and her grandfather’s documents, before formally requesting clearance from the four home nations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) as well as Nigerian internal affairs. 

Olajire stated, “She acquired all the documentation in a few months without being pressured or influenced.” 

“We’ve gone through this Fifa process before with other players, and some required reminding. To guarantee a smooth clearing, Ashleigh made personal sacrifices.” 

This season, she has appeared in 25 games for the Leicester women’s team, which she has been a part of since she was eight years old.  

Before relocating to the United States, she played in the English Premier League with Notts County in 2014. 

She went on to play for the USC Trojans and the LA Galaxy in college before returning to Leicester in January 2020 to play a major role in a remarkable season. 

Plumptre was named player of the season after helping the Foxes win the FA Women’s Championship in 2020-21, and she was rewarded with a new two-year contract.  

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