Wellington Phoenix kick off their pre-season on Monday without their senior coach and just six players in training as COVID-19 bites a third A-League season.
Club leaders are considering whether to relocate back to Australia for pre-season, or to hold out hope of assembling in the Kiwi capital.
A combination of border settings, player movements and the Olympics have decimated the Phoenix, now unlikely participants in the FFA Cup.
The Nix are due to play either Western United or Newcastle Jets next month in the knockout competition.
That is now in doubt given the New Zealand government has shut the trans-Tasman bubble for the next two months, ending quarantine-free travel arrangements.
Two key players - striker Gary Hooper and defender Steven Taylor - have secured places in New Zealand's hard-to-access quarantine (MIQ) hotels.
Others, including coach Ufuk Talay, assistant Giancarlo Italiano and Australian forward Jaushua Sotirio, are in COVID-crisis state NSW and have yet to find places in quarantine.
A club spokesman said they did not have a timeline on when they might arrive in New Zealand.
"The club does not have any special access or privileges to gaining MIQ spots for players and coaching staff returning to New Zealand," a statement read.
"We must adhere to the same process as anyone else and spaces in MIQ have been, and continue to be, in extremely high demand."
Only David Ball, Louis Fenton, James McGarry, Tim Payne, Alex Rufer and Oliver Sail will train under assistant Chris Greenacre on Monday.
Another six players, including Australian midfielder Reno Piscopo, are at the Olympics, and must quarantine on arrival back in New Zealand when their national team duties are complete.
"Obviously this all impacts upon our pre-season training, but without any other options available to us we are managing the situation as best we can," the statement read.
The Phoenix played all but two matches last season in Australia, narrowly missing the finals as their long spell abroad took its toll.
Australian Associated Press