Irankunda: The talk of global football

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He is the talk of global football but Nestory Irankunda’s feet are firmly planted on the ground in Adelaide despite confirmation he will be transferred to powerhouse German club Bayern Munich in July.

Adelaide United confirmed on Tuesday night it had agreed to terms on the sale of the electric winger, for a club record fee, which will see him shift to Europe after the completion of the 2023/24 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Irankunda was first signed by the Reds as a 15-year-old in 2021 and at the tender age of 17 is now a regular and constant threat in attack, registering nine goals in his 38 A-League games.

Speaking in front of a packed press conference on Wednesday, the softly spoken teen said he was grateful to the club and coach Carl Veart for the opportunities they had given him.

“(The club) means a lot (to me),” he said.

“I guess they’re the reason I’ve got this opportunity. Without them, I wouldn’t have.”

From Adelaide’s northern suburbs, Irankunda was spotted playing with Adelaide Croatia Raiders as a junior and invited out to train with Adelaide United’s youth team by the club’s Head of Youth Football, Airton Andrioli.

His time coming through as a junior was also not lost on Irankunda.
“All the club’s I’ve played for have helped – especially Raiders,” he went on.

“They’ve helped me through my through my junior years and obviously, I’m grateful to have two good clubs that helped me out.

“(They always told me) to keep working hard. They always told me to work on other stuff. They had the belief in me and they always told me that.”

While he will not turn 18 until February, after the international transfer window, and therefore will be unable to transfer to Bayern until July 1, 2024, Irankunda was relieved to have the much speculated move confirmed.

He said the agreement was very exciting for his family, including father Gideon who was present during the press conference.

“It’s obviously a great feeling. I’m really excited to be able to get the opportunity I’ve been given to try something,” Irankunda said.

“Obviously, it’s great to have (my dad) here. My family has helped a lot. They’ve been showing their support throughout my time and it obviously means a lot to have that support.

“It was a great moment for the family so still happy to this day.”
While the transfer will undoubtably increase the on and off-field attention Irankunda receives, the teenager feels well equipped and well supported to deal with the scrutiny on his movements.

And he is excited to see out the season with his beloved Reds, and hopefully have some success before he leaves for Germany.

“It’s going to be great,” Irankunda said. “Obviously, I started off here so it’s gonna mean a lot to at least have a few more months.”

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