New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert says his team's longer and more difficult qualifying path to the 2014 World Cup will be a challenge but one his players will relish.

Herbert guided New Zealand to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, at which they were the only team to finish pool play unbeaten, through an Oceania qualifying series and an intercontinental playoff against Asian qualifiers Bahrain.

New Zealand will have to navigate a longer qualifying route to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, playing through Oceania rounds to reach a final-stage qualifier against an opponent from the CONCACAF confederation.

Herbert said ''it'll be a challenge but one New Zealand will relish if we get to that stage.''