WELSH national team manager Chris Coleman’s failure to show up for a pre-arranged coaching day in Newtown this week has sparked widespread condemnation after leaving scores of children disappointed.
Over 120 children from 10 schools descended on Newtown’s Maldwyn Leisure Centre for a morning’s coaching from Coleg Powys’ football coaching students on Monday.
However, despite Coleman’s assurances that he would not only attend but also deliver a coaching session to the students, all were left disappointed at his failure to appear.
It was a particular blow to Sam Williams and Alex George, who were to become the first people in Powys to receive Millennium Volunteers 50 sport certificates in recognition of their volunteer work with Caersws and Llanidloes Town Ladies.
Both had previously attended the Football Association of Wales (FAW) headquarters in Cardiff to pick up their certificates, when Coleman also failed to turn up.
College lecturer Gareth Watkins was happy that the coaching day had been a success but not at the national team manager’s decision not to make the trip to Mid Wales.
“It was disappointing that Chris did not manage to interrupt his busy schedule to come to Mid Wales and see some of the excellent work our learners are doing in the local community to promote grass roots football.” said Watkins.
Football Association of Wales Trust Central Wales development officer Tim Broome echoed the sentiment.
“It was a shame for the primary school children and the coaches who worked so hard to deliver a quality coaching session. All we can hope is that he delivers on his promise at some point.”
FAW councillor Phil Jones hit out at the association’s communication department after failing to inform the 150 students and school pupils that Coleman would not attend.
“It was the only disappointing aspect of a superb event and it was not good to see these youngsters disappointed,” he said.
Welsh FA spokesman Ian Gwyn Hughes said: “We hold our hands up and apologise unreservedly to Coleg Powys and all the children who attended ton Monday.
“We try and do as much public relations as we can but at the end of the day Chris is the national team manager and from time to time football issues crop up which must take priority.
“On this occasion Chris was in a meeting which over-ran until the afternoon and made it impossible for him to make Newtown.
“It has now been re-arranged for Newtown on Wednesday and we will definitely be there.”