Troubled Kenya Prisons have withdrawn from the ongoing Women's Africa Club Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
Nation Sport 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 (Egypt time) but that will not happen," said Prisons team manager David Kilundo.
The five-time African champions stand no chance of winning this annual competition this time round after losing two of its four group matches.
Coach Josep Baraza's charges were however programmed to face DR Congo's DGSP in a classification match aimed at determining which positions between 9 and 17 the clubs finish in.
The wardresses won against 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 again 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.
Still, Prisons' withdrawal from this competition could spell trouble with the tournament organisers likely to heavily fine the team or even hand them a lengthy ban altogether.
It comes barely a day after Nation Sport exclusively reported the club's contingent in Cairo had their passports confiscated at the Al-Albilla hotel in Cairo over a delay in payment of hotel bills.
Earlier, the team's departure for Egypt to compete in this tournament was delayed for more than three days owing to a 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 am 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.
"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, damaged the ligaments on her right knee."
For the second day running, Nation Sport unsuccessfully failed to get a comment from both Kenya Prisons Sports Department boss Rose Moturi and Department for Correctional Services PS Zainabu Hussein.
And in a related development, Kenya's other representatives at the competition posted mixed results.
Kenya Commercial Bank are also out of the running to win this tournament after a 3-0(25-18,25-21,25-19) humiliation at the hands of Tunisia's Carthage Eagles.
Kenya Pipeline are however, through to the last eight after beating Cameroon army side FAP 3-1(22-25,25-8,25-18,25-12) on Wednesday.