All Whites' coach Danny Hay is considering relocating his family to Europe for a period, if his MIQ quest continues to be fruitless.
Hay departs New Zealand on Sunday bound for the Middle East, ahead of New Zealand's games against Curacao and Bahrain later this month.
The All Whites are also expected to have matches in the subsequent FIFA window (November 8-16), in either Europe or the Middle East, and Hay was initially hoping to return after those fixtures
But he has been unsuccessful in each of the two MIQ lotteries so far and will leave the country unsure of when he could return.
The general pessimistic outlook, given the huge spike in demand – Hay was 26,444 in the queue last Tuesday – has left the coach contemplating a drastic solution.
"We have to keep trying and if all else fails and I can't get back, then potentially I'll look to bring the family over because I can't be away from them forever," Hay told the Herald on Sunday. "If it is too long it just gets ludicrous."
Hay and his wife Diane have two children in secondary school in Auckland, son Lochie (14) and daughter Maddie (13).
"I'll wait until the summer school holidays (December)," said Hay. "I'm keeping a really open mind about everything, with the whole MIQ situation and the way it is going, I've got to have a plan B and C."
"I'm just hoping there is going to be a plan at some stage from the government to reopen borders to vaccinated citizens, obviously in a safe way but you have to hope that next year we are not stuck in the same situation we are now."
Hay has contemplated staying in the northern hemisphere until next April, with the All Whites set to play in the Oceania World Cup qualifying tournament in Qatar in mid-March.
"Potentially, that might have to be the situation," said Hay.
His children are "excited, but a little bit apprehensive" about the prospect of an extended stay in Europe.
"It could be a bit of an adventure but just waiting to see if we have to do that," said Hay.
New Zealand Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell admitted the situation was far from ideal.
"The staff that are going (four in total) are obviously really committed to the cause and you would like to think that the situation is going to change," said Pragnell. "And there is an upside to everything; there's a chance to spend some time with clubs in Europe and build and forge those relationships, something we have been locked out of for the better part of the 18 months."
"Danny and [assistant coach] Darren [Bazeley] lived a long time in the UK and have a lot of relationships and connections they want to re-establish."
Hay agrees there are some silver linings.
"It wouldn't be the worst place to be," said Hay. "Europe is back to business and you look at the football that is going on there and the crowds and everything - it's fairly open."
"If I do end up there I will utilise the time to go round to some good environments, build connections with our players."
"With a large proportion of them being based in that part of the world, it's probably not a bad thing for the national team coach to be based there. A bit like [Football Ferns coach] Jitka Klimkova now. But unfortunately, my life is here."
Hay retains plenty of contacts from his days at Leeds United (1999-2002) and Walsall (2002-2003).
"If it is just me, there are people about and it is no problem," said Hay. "But if it is the family, we will have to Air BNB or rent if we go up there."
The All Whites will assemble in Bahrain on Monday and Tuesday, ahead of the clashes with Curacao (5am, 10 Oct NZT) and Bahrain (5am, 13 Oct NZT).