Expat South African striker Grant Young has "almost certainly" pulled on his boots for the last time, leaving Auckland City coach Paul Posa to search for new firepower heading into the business end of the New Zealand Football Championship.
Young, who last played for City in the 2-0 O-League win over Port Vila Sharks in December, has played only three of seven NZFC games for the club this season. This week he said that O-League encounter, in which he was substituted after an hour, was "probably my last game".
"I'm not 21 anymore," said Young, 37. "For me, in the New Year, there are other things like family and work commitments so it might be the time to stop. I have had a good four or five years I never expected."
When Young arrived in New Zealand in 2004 he had no intention of resuming a football career which took him to the international stage 10 years earlier when he played against Australia.
"The last five years have been a bonus. We came here looking for a change of lifestyle and a brighter future than what we were facing in South Africa," said Young. "That has certainly been the case. They [his son and daughter] are certainly different kids than when we arrived. They are much more confident after being very wary of the dangers they faced there.
"We noticed definite changes and after three or four months were very aware we had made the right decision."
Football-wise, Young was content to turn out for local club East Coast Bays playing in their over-30s team.
But it wasn't long before his talent caught the eye and he was off to Central United and then Auckland City.
Immediately he started scoring goals by the bucketful and quickly winning them over at the Sandringham-based clubs.
He was named NZFC Player of the Year in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons and claimed the golden boot in 2004-05. He led the scoring at City in 2004-05 and 2006-07 and was twice named Auckland City's supporters' Player of the Year.
With Young likely to go and new coach Paul Posa already releasing Solomon Islanders Alick Maemae and Nelson Sale, there will surely be changes.
"The door is still open for Grant but if he doesn't play again I can understand that," said Posa.
The coach said he thought he "was doing Grant a favour by calling him after an hour in Port Vila".
Among those being considered by Posa are Scot Allen Caralla who played with City and All Whites defender James Pritchett.
"Someone else has arrived out of the blue," said Posa. "We will have a look at him and then make a decision."
Other teams are likely to make changes in an effort to bolster squads for the remaining rounds but, given the lack of football at any level other than the NZFC, there is not a huge pool to choose from.