From the Tofu Bowl caught up with Welsh football fan Rhys Hartley about his thoughts on traveling to China for a game. Here is what he had to say on missing out on Russia, Bale’s chances on playing and the great charity work Wales fans do abroad.
Are you excited to watch Wales in China?
I'm really looking forward to seeing Wales play in the Far East. Having missed out on Russia, this is a gread consolation prize for those of us who follow Wales home and away, as we get to experience a completely different culture, watch Wales play twice, and catch up with the same old faces that we won't have seen for a few months. Of course, we would all have preferred to be going to Russia in the summer, but it's not a bad second prize. It will also be the furthest I've travelled to watch Wales!
What are your travel plans to watch Wales in a 12,000 mile round trip?
As I'm currently based in Belgrade, it's not been easy to tail onto everyone else's trips, so I've had to do a lot of research myself for this one. I'll be travelling from Belgrade (via a short layover in Doha, Qatar - forgive me) to Hanoi in Vietnam and then getting the overnight train (or a bus) onto Nanning. My work are pretty flexible, so I'm able to make a real trip of it and spend 3 weeks travelling around northern Vietnam and south-eastern China.
Do you expect Wales to be at full strength in China?
I'm not sure if there's something in the contract that Wales signed with the organisers or something that states we must have our full strength team, but I'd be very surprised to see all of our 'stars' available. Can anybody remember the last time we were at full strength for a friendly? With Bale's recent history of injuries, I can't see him being risked, and I'd imagine a few others might want to rest up with the tail end of the season coming up straight after it. However, with this bunch of players, it does seem that they're passionate about wearing the shirt - or at least they were under Coleman and Speed. Perhaps it's down to the next manager - I'm sure he'd like his best XI for his first games in charge. If it's Giggs, though, he'd have some cheek asking the players to travel that far for a friendly! For those who didn't know Giggs was famous for not turning up for friendlies with Wales.
You work with Gol Cymru, have you plans to do work with them over in China?
Wherever Wales play football, Gôl visits and donates goods and gifts to underprivileged children. China will be no exception to this and we will liaise with the relevant authorities there to make sure that this can happen. We usually work with the British Embassy and any locals who may have some knowledge to help us out, and we'll be making the first contact in the coming weeks. You can find out more about us on www.gol.wales or through our Facebook and Twitter pages: @GôlCymru