Troubled Kenya Prisons women's volleyball team has withdrawn from the ongoing Women's Africa Club Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
Nairobi News understands the Ministry of Interior and Coordination on Thursday instructed the Kenyan Embassy in Cairo to clear the team's pending bills and thereafter book the Kenyan Volleyball Federation women's league champions on the next available flight back home.
"Someone has come here and introduced himself as an employee of the Kenyan Embassy. He is clearing the bills and checking us out of the hotel. We were supposed to train (for our next match) between 1-2pm (Egyptian time) but that will not happen," said Prisons team manager David Kilundo.
"This is the worst performance we have endured as a team in this tournament over the last decade," added Kilundo.
"We arrived here very late, and have faced several uncertainties over the lack of finances. Also, Violet Makuto, who is our most influential player got injured, She's damaged the ligaments on her right knee."
Even so, the five-time African champions stood no chance of winning the annual competition this time round after losing two of their four group matches.
The wardresses beat Cote d'Ivoire's ASEC 3-0 (25-12,25-13,25-9) and Uganda's Nkumba University 3-1 (24-26,27-25,25-16,25-22) but then lost 3-1 (25-15,14-25,25-23,25-22) to Algeria Petroliers and 3-1 (25-18,25-20,22-25,25-21) to Egypt's El Shams, thus failing to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 15 years.
Coach Josep Baraza's charges were slated to face DR Congo's DGSP in a classification match to determine their position between 9 and 17.
Still, Prisons withdrawal from this competition could spell trouble with the tournament organizers likely to heavily fine the team or even hand them a lengthy ban altogether.
This development comes barely a day after Nairobi News exclusively reported the confiscation of the club's contingent's passports by the management of the Al-Albilla Hotel in Cairo over delayed payment of bills.
Earlier, Nairobi News also reported that the team's departure for Egypt to compete in the tournament had been delayed for more than three days for lack of funds.
The players are also owed allowances for participating in the tournament, reportedly amounting to around Sh2.7 million.
"This development (withdrawal of the team) is very unfortunate and embarrassing," said Kenya Volleyball Federation president Waithaka Kioni.
"I'm doing a letter to the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) president (Amr El Wani) to plead with him so that both the club and federation are not sanctioned," added Kioni, who doubles up as CAVB vice-president.
For the second day running, Nairobi News tried without success to get a comment from Kenya Prisons sports department boss Rose Moturi and Department for Correctional Services PS Zainabu Hussein.
Meanwhile, Kenya's other representatives at the competition posted mixed results, with Kenya Commercial Bank, who are also out of the running in the tournament losing 3-0 (25-18,25-21,25-19) to Tunisia's Carthage Eagles.
Kenya Pipeline have however progressed to the last eight after beating Cameroon army side FAP 3-1 (22-25,25-8,25-18,25-12) on Wednesday.