Bayern Munich have beaten some of Europe's biggest clubs to capture the signing of electric Australian Nestory Irankunda, who has shades of Alphonso Davies in his game. bundesliga.com profiles the teenager...
Stats correct as of 12 November 2023
Age: 17 (born 9 February, 2006)
Club: Bayern Munich
Country: Australia (7 youth caps/ 11 goals)
Just one glimpse of Irankunda flying at opponents should fill football fans with excitement, this being a 17-year-old who, in January 2022 became the sixth youngest debutant in A-League history when handed his Adelaide United bow aged just 15. A first league goal soon followed in just his third appearance, making him the second youngest goalscorer in the league's history. By the end of that campaign, Irankunda had three goals to his name, a number he improved on with five goals in 19 games by the end of 2022/23. He still hadn't started a fixture for Adelaide until the beginning of the 2023/24 season, when scoring in the first-round Australia Cup victory over Northcote City on 14 August 2023 on his full professional debut, a full 33 games into his burgeoning career.
Irankunda has scored a stunning 11 goals in just seven caps at Under 17 level for Australia and his senior debut for his adopted country seems like just a matter of time. In March 2023, Irankundra was called up to train with the seniors ahead of their friendly with Ecuador and was eventually brought into the squad after a collection of injuries. Had he featured, Irankunda would have become the nation's youngest player in history but he remained a substitute. He clearly impressed during his time in the camp, with striker Mitchell Duke saying, “He seems to be a freak!"
Plays a bit like: Alphonso Davies
Rapid, strong, always looking to take on opposition defenders and with a rocket of a shot on him, the right-footed Irankunda looks a bit like Davies in a mirror. Their breakouts as young, exciting wingers also bear remarkably similar hallmarks, while Davies' top-speed of 22.69 mph (36.51 km/h) - that set a Bundesliga record at the time - is actually bettered by the 23mph (37 km/h) mark hit by the Aussie in October. In fact, if he had hit that speed in the Bundesliga, it would have seen him surpass Karim Adeyemi - 22.77 mph (36.65 km/h) - as the fastest player in German top-flight history.
Did you know?
The comparisons between Davies and Irankunda go far beyond the football pitch and their stories from hardship to the very elite of world football are remarkably similar. Davies was born in a Ghana refugee camp after his parents fled civil war in Liberia and eventually found a new life in Canada before going on to join Bayern. It is a story Irankunda knows all too well himself having also been born in a Tanzanian refugee camp, after his parents Gideon and Dafroza, like Davies', sought safety amid a bloody war between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups in their home country of Burundi.
"When the civil war broke out, they had no choice, they didn't want to lose their lives," Irankunda told the Canberra Times in May 2023. "My older sister was sick and when they were trying to flee they were about to leave her behind. But Dad couldn't, he loves his family and he'd do anything for his kids. That's when things were going crazy, he picked up my sister (and fled). Dad gets emotional talking about it and I try to understand what they went through but they've only shared small bits."
What they're saying
"We've had Nestory on the radar for quite a while and are pleased we've been able to reach an agreement with him and Adelaide United for a transfer to Munich next summer. Nestory is an extremely quick winger who dribbles and shoots well, with real drive towards goal. We're convinced of his potential and that he'll take the next steps with us. The experiences of the next months in the A-League will definitely be very positive for his further development." - Jochen Sauer, head of the FC Bayern Campus
“From a natural talent point of view, he has everything going for him. If he can tick all the other boxes, I wouldn’t be surprised. He is such a beauty to watch. Even at training at times, you play a ball down the line for him to accelerate and put the cross in… if you go to a club like Bayern which people have been talking, I think he will catch people’s eye because of that." - Airton Andrioli, the man credited with discovering Irankunda, in an interview with keepup.com.au
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