New Zealand have lost captain Winston Reid to injury for their 2014 World Cup playoff against Mexico after the West Ham United defender suffered an ankle injury during training with the Premier League club.
The 17-cap All White will miss both legs of the playoff, which starts in Mexico City on Wednesday before the return match in Wellington a week later.
"Losing your captain a week before a match of this magnitude is difficult but this is the nature of football," coach Ricki Herbert said on national governing body New Zealand Football's website (www.nzfootball.co.nz).
"With Winston now sidelined, it presents an opportunity for other players to grasp and we will now move forward with the same levels of determination and commitment our group prides itself on."
Herbert said Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith or veteran Ivan Vicelich would take over as captain, local media reported.
"Tommy has recently been involved in that position and we would like him to step up at this stage," Fairfax NZ quoted Herbert as saying.
Herbert would finalise his team when the All Whites assembled in Los Angeles on Sunday, Fairfax said.
New Zealand are bidding to qualify for their third World Cup and their second in succession after winning a playoff against Bahrain to make the 2010 finals in South Africa.