Five players and a coach have defected from Cuba's water polo team ©Getty Images

Cuba have withdrawn from the women's water polo Olympic qualification tournament in The Netherlands as five players and a coach have defected from the country.

The group switched allegiances from the socialist state to Mexico, where they had travelled to for a training camp.

"It is a shame, because we had a good team," said Cuba's National Commissioner Eduardo Medina to the country's news agency. 

"Maybe we did not have the potential to get a ticket to Rio de Janeiro, but we were ready to give it our best shot against the rivals in Group B."

Cuba, who finished fourth at last year's Pan American Games in Toronto to earn their place in the qualification tournament in Gouda, will be replaced in the group by Germany who will now lock horns with France, Italy, New Zealand, Russia and hosts The Netherlands.

Cuba were due to compete in Group B
Cuba were due to compete in Group B ©Getty Images

The country could now be sanctioned by governing body the International Swimming Federation (FINA). 

This is not a new problem for Cuba as members of its men's football team defected to the United States when the Gold Cup tournament was played on American soil last year.

The water polo tournament will offer four spaces for Rio.

Group A will feature United States, Greece, Canada, South Africa, Spain and Japan.

Brazil, China, Hungary and Australia are already assured of their places.