Neil Emblen once tried to make himself sick at halftime of an O-League game because the heat and humidity were effecting him so badly but he was so dehydrated nothing came out.

Ivan Vicelich likens playing in the Solomon Islands to having a hair dryer blasted down your throat for 90 minutes.

There will be many challenges the All Whites will face in the Oceania Nations Cup when they kick off their campaign against Fiji tomorrow but few will be as difficult as adjusting to the conditions in Honiara.

Today they trained in temperatures above 30 degrees and humidity tipping 90 per cent. And it was at 10am. They kick off against Fiji tomorrow at midday.


"No matter how many times you come here, and I have been here a few times for club and country, you never get used to them," said Vicelich, who first played in the Solomons in an under-17 tournament. "It's always very difficult and some of the guys have probably never played in conditions like this before. It's a bit like a hair dryer getting blown down your throat.

"It was great to get a couple of games in the States in the heat recently but this is no longer a friendly ... it's do or die every game."

To make matters worse, the players will be asked to play five games in nine days. Fifa talk about player safety but a need for the Oceania Football Confederation to limit costs and meet television demands means 16 games will be crammed into 10 days.

Everything is being done in the All Whites' camp to limit the effect on players, particularly those who will see considerable game time.

They trained in ice vests this morning - the first time they have used them - and will wear them in the warmups and at halftime on game day. Substitutes will also don the vests on the sidelines to keep their core temperature down.

Players will sweat so much many can expect to lose as much as 3-4kg during a match, and they will avoid the changing facilities at Lawson Tama Stadium as much as possible because they are like a small oven.

Massage therapist Wade Irvine will be one of the busiest individuals in the camp and coach Ricki Herbert will put little accent on training, other than to walk through subtle changes or to work some of the squad players.

"This is going to be a really tough 10 days," Herbert said. "It's hard, it's hot, it's geographically challenging and it will be draining. It's not a World Cup format you would see anywhere else in the world [with games every second day] but they are the cards you are dealt and you have to deal with it."


It's the same for every team but New Zealand's greater depth will be a significant advantage. Herbert won't rotate his squad because there is too much at stake but will look to drag key players from the pitch if a game is under control.

Emblen might now be thankful he's on the coaching staff rather than playing.

"You get times when you feel like the lights are on but no one is home," Emblen said. "The brain knows what to do but the body won't let you."