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Football | World Cup 2014

Passport bungle keeps Coleman grounded



Wales manager Chris Coleman was late arriving in Macedonia for Friday's World Cup qualifier between the countries due to what the Football Association of Wales described as "a passport issue".

The delay meant that Coleman missed both the pre-game press conference and final training session, with assistant coach Kit Symons reported to be set to step in for him at the Phillip II Arena in Skopje.

"Manager Chris Coleman will arrive in Skopje later tonight (Thursday) after a passport issue delayed his departure from Cardiff," read a statement on the FAW Twitter feed.

Coleman's assistant Kit Symons fulfilled Wales' pre-match press obligations and he played down the incident.

Symons and the Welsh FA refused to clarify what had caused Coleman to be delayed, but it is understood he lost his passport and, having obtained a replacement, was travelling from London Heathrow to Skopje via Vienna.

"There were a couple of passport issues which needed to be resolved and they have been and he will be landing imminently," Symons said.

"It was a minor issue which has been dealt with so there are no dramas.

"He will not make training but all the tactical stuff has been done and it's just about the boys stretching their legs tonight, so it will not be a disruption.

"I have not spoken to him since this morning, I am sure he will bat it off and get on with it and not be embarrassed."

Friday's Group A game in the Macedonian capital is expected to feature Wales star Gareth Bale's first appearance since he completed his blockbuster move to Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

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