With England based Ashleigh Plumptre having shone like a million stars in the first leg against Ivory Coast last week, many fans are now wondering whether coach Randy Waldrum will one day pair her with Onyinye Zogg in the heart of Nigeria's defence. Although Ashleigh was played out of position at right fullback in Abuja, she still delivered a sterling performance.
Her department was targeted relentlessly and she was beaten on occasions by the influential Ivory Coast number 10 winger. But Ashleigh's recovery rate was exemplary. Her shielding, marking, tackling and interception maneuvers were executed to very high standards. She ticks all the boxes of an upmarket defender.
That said, the limited pace often associated with top quality centre backs was evident in her game leading to many fans waiting for her to be restored to her natural habitat in the heart of defence. When that happens, will Randy Waldrum be bold enough to pair her with Zogg so as to have his own rendition of Rohr's Oyinbo Wall pairing of Balogun and Ekong?
Twenty four year old Onyinyechi Salome Zogg, who was born in Switzerland and plays for FFC Turbine Potsdam of Germany, is a seasoned centre defender who already has 2 caps for Nigeria. In her first game for the Super Falcons against Jamaica last year, Zogg received rave reviews from many Nigerian media outlets as one of the top performers on a disappointing night for Nigeria. She held her own at the back; contributed defensively to keep the scoreline respectable; and show maturity beyond her years in dispensing her role on the pitch. Although she was not invited for this February's double header qualifiers against Ivory Coast, Zogg very much remains in the plans of the Super Falcons management team (if she stays fit and active in club football). Going forward, Zogg is expected to be included in future squads. Should circumstances conspire in her favour (just like 2 goals hero Onumonu profited from the absence of Oshoala and Oparanozie), Super Falcons fans might yet witness the unveiling of another Oyinbo Wall sooner rather than later! And that will be delightfully brilliant!
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