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Sports Features Fri, 15 Mar 2013

Low level of commitment in Black Stars

Who is to blame? *

By Dennis Mirpuri

The Ghana FA’s decision to axe certain players from the Black Stars due to their low level of commitment during this year’s Africa Cup of Nations seems to be the perfect panacea to ensuring team members give off their best when on national team assignments but I wonder if FA Boss Mr. Kwesi Nyantayi and his Black Stars management team have considered “why” these players still delivered unimpressive performances even after they were motivated with huge sums of money as winning bonuses?

It would interest you to know that sports scientists and performance consultants view motivation from a multi-dimensional perspective containing extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

The demand of extrinsic motivation was satisfied by the Sports Ministry, which made available appreciable winning bonuses to the Black Stars players. Each member of the Ghana team had bagged a total of 50,000 dollars for advancing from the group stage and winning their quarter final match against Cape Verde, with a promise of 25,000 dollars more to bag if Ghana had won the semi-final and won the final game.

With all the facts on how extrinsically motivated the Black Stars team were, I doubt if low player commitment at AFCON 2013 could be blamed on issues of a possible dissatisfaction in bonuses, which was never reported.

If you remember, Mr. Nyantakyi mentioned during a post-AFCON 2013 press conference in Accra last month that, “some people did well in the first game and that was it. Some players played two games and then went to sleep and I think the national team deserves better than that.”

Just this week, Black Stars Coach Kwasi Appiah excluded Anthony Annan, John Paintsil, Jerry Akaminko, Emmanuel Clottey and Derek Boateng from his 24-man squad for Ghana’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Sudan, prompting suspicions that those were the supposed uncommitted players.

Though this is unclear, one fact that remains obvious is that Mr. Nyantakyi’s words pointing to the laxity detected in the performance of certain Black Stars players could only mean intrinsic motivation was low.

I say this based on facts I have gathered revealing that, a study by sports scientists has suggested intrinsic motivation toward a sporting activity, which directly depends on player psychology, can be developed by increasing a player’s belief in his effectiveness. Sport psychologists are known to design strategies in addressing the improvement of player performance.

At this point, you would want to agree with me that certain Black Stars players’ experienced low intrinsic motivation at the tournament partly because psychologist Patrick Ofori’s sessions did not yield the desired results. Perhaps, the UK based psychologist should be held responsible for the players’ inability to exhibit appreciable commitment at South Africa 2013.
Source: Dennis Mirpuri