From South Africa to New Zealand, and hopefully back again in 2023, Karin Burger joins Out of court to discuss his journey towards becoming a world champion with Pakis Perak.
The 27-year-old defender is linked with Tamsin Greenway and Caroline Barker to chat after enjoying the first day of training with his club teammates at Central Pulse in New Zealand.
After training alone due to the limitations required by COVID-19, even the most feared tasks by netball were a pleasant experience.
“We started with a fitness test and to be honest, I did it with a smile because it meant we could do it with other people and I don’t have to do it alone anymore!” said Burger.
“I like training,” the defender added. “But when you are accustomed to training in a team and having that impetus around you, the transition to doing it yourself all the time is draining.”
ANZ Premiership will be the first netball professional league to be restarted on June 19 and for Central Pulse, this marks the continuation of those who tried to defend the title they won last year.
“Now that we have won it, we need to try and find out how we can be different when we have to be different, and not just stick to one game plan,” he said about his team.
“In the end, we want to have that gold again, it’s just about how we will get there because other people will start to know us and they have great talent in their ranks. We need to be smarter in what we do.”
ANZ Premiership confirms the date of return
The competition will resume on June 19 and the revised game schedule will be announced by New Zealand Netball soon.
Another goal for all players at ANZ Premiership is to develop themselves as individuals, and prove to Silver Ferns head coach Dame Noeline Taurua that they continue to have the qualities needed to wear a black dress.
Burger journey to Silver Fern # 171 does not take the traditional route. He was born and raised in South Africa and after arriving in New Zealand at the age of 18, he did not burden himself with pressure.
“It’s quite interesting because when I first moved, it didn’t always move with a strong thought that one day I would be at Silver Ferns,” he recalls.
“I think as a young person, everything that is interesting including moving to another country is extraordinary. I grew up wanting to do something extra in my life … I don’t want to do normal things all the time. Sport gives me that opportunity.
“When I got the chance to move to New Zealand, I took it. I think you should have it in your mind – to play for Silver Day one day – but it was a seven-year journey for me to get there.”
I never told myself that I was pretty good at Silver Ferns. I said I would give it all … and if that doesn’t work, then that’s what it is. That’s all I can control.
Burger began to build a life for himself in New Zealand and in front of netball, he found that he had some development that needed to be done to make the jump from the high school netball he left in South Africa.
“I’m very raw,” he admitted. “There are lots of little things that I need to do.
“I come from a very small city in South Africa and no big resources are put into netball training there, so you just have to stick with what you have. You rely on your talent.
“When I moved here [to New Zealand], I moved to the club that embraced me and helped me develop small things – like landing on the left and turning left – very basic things! “
I have to go back to basics and study all of that again to ensure that I can get a quality game out … It takes about two years to feel confident in what I say.
Burger remains dedicated, not only developing his skills in the field, but also learning and working. For him, 12 hours a day is the norm; the road to the top is a challenging and intense one.
“There are many times when it feels very difficult. The times when I have to study, work, and get up early to practice, and then return to training at night. Looking back now, I can’t imagine myself doing that again, “he said.
“I don’t want to go back there, but I’m grateful because it really built my character into what it is today.”
His character was further tested when he submitted his Silver Ferns debut against England in 2018. It was an impressive debut for the wrong reasons, when he was sent out of court.
“It’s not something I plan to have in my career, but I’ve done it, learned from it, and it won’t happen again.
“I have an amazing coach who pulled me afterward – we discussed why it happened, what I thought, how I proceeded, and how it ended.
“I think he understands my point that there is no evil in it, it is an honest mistake and there is only a lot of adrenaline that floods me.
“He believes that I know what I’m doing and I know I won’t do it again. He gave me that opportunity in the next game, which I am very grateful for.”
As Burger said, further hats were given to him including a place in the Taurua squad for last year’s Netball World Cup in Liverpool.
Silver Ferns arrived in England after the worst Commonwealth Games results in their history – fourth on the Gold Coast – and with head coach Taurua taking over from Janine Southby, just 10 months earlier.
Despite acknowledging the brilliance of Taurua, many are not convinced that he has enough time to bring his side back to where they believe it should be; won gold on the world stage.
“Internally, there is no doubt,” Burger said. “It is understandable if they come from outside because they cannot see what is happening in our group.
“It is instilled in us, not to listen to such things and moreover, to use them as encouragement to do better and prove them wrong.
“I think the mentality of things, and how it develops, is more [important] in terms of that skill. We have skills, we just need to perfect them, but it’s really mental things that we build and work together as a team. That gives us an extra edge. “
With ‘fossils’ in their squad – Laura Langman, Casey Kopua, and Maria Folau – providing a great experience and the Silver Ferns trademark zone throws the team, the result is an extraordinary world title that is won with style.
The presence of Langman, Kopua and Folau added to the extraordinary in Liverpool but Ferns’ return to England for the Vitality Nations Cup in January showed that their system was running deep.
They are dominant, despite playing most of their games with only 10 players because of injuries, and with Jane Watson, Burger is a prominent player.
As a 27-year-old boy, but a person who only made his international debut in 2018, it is not surprising to find that Burger has its eyes on the main sports competitions in the coming months and years.
Because of the global pandemic, the schedule in the near future is uncertain but long term, the Commonwealth Games are scheduled for 2022 and beyond that, there is the 16th edition of the Netball World Cup in South Africa.
“When it was announced that it would be in South Africa, so many friends and family went to Mum to get tickets! This would be very unusual,” he said.
“I grew up in a family where there was always support on the sidelines for me, so moving to New Zealand has no major adjustments.
“It’s wonderful to know that I can play again where they will be so many personal supporters on the sidelines. Hopefully I hope to be in the team to play there.”
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]