New Zealand's road to the Rio Olympics will rely on winning a war of attrition.

The Under-23 football side must navigate five games in 10 days to win the Pacific Games Olympic Qualifying tournament which starts in Papua New Guinea next week, where all group games will kick off between midday and 3pm - and temperatures are likely to soar to 30C.

It will send a shiver down the spine of fans who remember New Zealand's infamous 2012 "Horror in Honiara" campaign, where the All Whites finished third at the OFC Nations Cup after playing five games in nine days in the Solomon Islands, and missed out on a lucrative qualification spot at the Confederations Cup.

New Zealand Football's (NZF) review of that tournament identified three failings during the Ricki Herbert led campaign - scouting, tactical implementation and adapting to conditions.


But coach Anthony Hudson is confident those mistakes will not be made again.

"Ever since I've been here I've been asking questions about that and what went wrong, without digging up old dirt, just trying to find out what we could learn," Hudson said.

"And the biggest thing we have focused on is our mentality. We have made this group ruthlessly accountable. We know decisions will go against us, we know there may be problems on the way to the ground, crowd issues, but we need to make sure we're not affected by that.

"My assistant has gone there, he's scoped the village out, the pitches out, the landscape, the fans, all that sort of stuff. There are a few pitches there but we have the mindset of whatever we're playing on, whether it's bumpy or grass, we just get on with it."

Hudson named his 23-man squad today, which included 12 players from the recent Fifa U-20 World Cup, but has opted against calling back high profile youngsters Ryan Thomas and Tyler Boyd.

"Individually there's a different case for all of them. Ryan Thomas is a player who is very important for the All Whites, at a very important stage of his career who had a lot of injuries last season and ended up missing a lot of our tours and for me, to bring him here, upset his club and have him play five games in 10 days could damage his relationship with the All Whites going forward. I feel we have enough in this group to get us to Rio.

"Tyler could come here and help us and be really good and give us that extra edge, but it could also jeopardise his first season overseas where he really needs to make it. And if that effects his club career, we might not have a player that we could have, because he will end up bouncing around like players do."

Bill Tuiloma will skip the start of Olympique de Marseille's pre-season training to lead the team in a tough group which includes Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia - who are ineligible to make the Olympic qualifying semi-finals.

Hudson refused to comment on the punishing tournament schedule but earlier this month NZF CEO Andy Martin expressed his disappointment to

"In anyone's language playing five qualifiers for an Olympic Games in 10 days in Papua New Guinea in the conditions we're going to have is not good for football," Martin said.

"We can't be held back by being part of a confederation where we're being pulled to the lowest common denominator."

New Zealand's first game is against Solomon Islands on July 3.

NZ U-23 squad


Max Crocombe (Oxford United FC), Oliver Sail (Wellington Phoenix), Nik Tzanev (Brentford FC).


Luke Adams (South Melbourne FC), Sam Brotherton (Wanderers SC), Kip Colvey (California Polytechnic State), Liam Higgins (WaiBOP United), Harshae Raniga (Waitakere United), Storm Roux (Central Coast Mariners), Alec Solomons (Waitakere United), Deklan Wynne (Wanderers SC).


Andrew Blake (Wellington Phoenix), Sam Burfoot (Auckland City FC), Moses Dyer (Wanderers SC), Louis Fenton (Wellington Phoenix), Clayton Lewis (Wanderers SC), Luka Prelevic (Melbourne City FC), Bill Tuiloma (Olympique Marseille), Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi (Wanderers SC).


Monty Patterson (Ipswich Town FC), Logan Rogerson (Wellington Phoenix), Alex Rufer (Wellington Phoenix), Joel Stevens (Wellington Phoenix).