Marco Rojas has been ruled out of the All Whites team to play Japan in Tokyo next week.
Interim coach Neil Emblen said Rojas had been struggling with a knee injury and had barely had any game time for his German club Stuttgart.
"He played some games over the Christmas offseason, where they were just coming back into their second pre-season because they do have a mid-season break in Germany.
"So he was playing then but he's not played recently at all.''
Emblen he was were hoping to have striker Rory Fallon as a replacement, but his club Crawley Town wasn't obliged to release him as there was a certain notice period countries have to give.