Ashleigh Plumptre, 24 years old, is definitely going to the world cup with Nigeria provided she stays fit and healthy and the Leicester City defensive linchpin is so looking forward to it.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in about the World Cup,” said Ashleigh.”I never thought I would play in a World Cup; here we are, crazy!”
I will advocate utilising the flamboyant defender in her natural position in a centre defensive arrangement of 3 with any of the likes of Glory Ogbonna, Onyinye Zogg, Chidima Okeke and Osinachi Ohale.
Onome Ebi should by now be content with a place on the bench as an inspirational leader.
With wingbacks like Nicole Payne, Michelle Alozie, Toni Payne, Rofiat Imruan, Joy Duru, Ayomide Ojo and Esther Adeboye (if they remain fit and flying), the back line can be more solid.
But, Ashleigh should be mindful though that qualifying for the world cup is not the main achievement and should not be seen as an end, it should be seen as a means to an end.
– a means to banish the memory of a mediocre Wafcon outing.
– a means to announce Nigeria as reputable team in women’s international football.
– a means to advance the Super Falcons’ giant killing credentials.
– a means to surpass Nigeria’s highest achievement of quarter final this time around.
It will be meaningless to go to the world cup only to make up the numbers.
The Super Falcons must make up lost grounds.
It is been a long time since Nigeria defeated a top team at the world cup – 2011 to be precise when Perpetua Ijeoma Nkwocha powered the Super Falcons to an impressive 1:0 victory against Canada in the group stages.
It is long overdue for Super Falcons fans to taste the sweet wine of such a giant killing defeat akin to the Super Eagles defeating Spain in the 1998 world cup.
So, Ashleigh should be aware that Super Falcons fans are equally happy that she is going to the world cup with Nigeria.
However, the next step is for her and her team to push the envelope and make the nation proud with compelling displays against the Germanys, Englands, France, Swedens, USAs and Japans of this world.
The underwhelming 4th place finish you achieved at the Wafcon which went under the radar will be gloriously celebrated like a World Cup trophy if you manage to pull it off in Australia and New Zealand next year!
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