The All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen will miss next month's Confederations Cup in South Africa because of injury.
Nelsen picked up a calf injury playing for Blackburn Rovers against Chelsea at the weekend and a scan has revealed a tear that will keep him out of action for up to 6 weeks.
Missing a campaign that included cup clashes against Spain, South Africa and Iraq, as well as a warm up against World champions Italy is another cruel twist in an injury blighted international career of the 31 year old.
He says he's absolutely gutted as he was really looking forward to playing in South Africa.
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert admits losing his captain and best player ahead of a major international tournament is a massive blow.
He says the confidence, leadership, competiveness and experience nelsen brings to a team will be a massive loss.
The loss of Nelsen, combined with the fact that Ben Sigmund is still working his way back to full fitness after off-season hip surgery, leaves Andy Boyens and Steven Old as the only match-ready central defenders in the 23-man Confederations Cup squad.
Herbert and assistant coach Brian Turner were now mulling options to add defensive cover and hope to name Nelsen's replacement tomorrow.