Who is Nestory Irankunda?

Who is Nestory Irankunda? Meet the Bayern Munich wonderkid who suffered life threatening injury on the pitch after leaving a Tanzanian refugee camp for Australia

  • Nestory Irankunda is Australia’s newest wonderkid 
  • The 17-year-old has signed for Bayern Munich 
  • Daily Mail Australia profiles his journey so far 

Nestory Irankunda is the wonderkid every Australian football fan is talking about after he landed a huge move to European powerhouse Bayern Munich.

Irankunda, 17, will join the German giants next July after Adelaide United agreed to part ways with the prodigious talent for an A-League record fee of $5.5million.  

The youngster has made waves in Australia’s domestic scene but his arrival in Germany will certainly raise eyebrows, with very few players making the step up from football’s backwaters to the big stage.

But Irankunda’s journey is a unique one that has consisted of challenges from very early on. 

Here, Daily Mail Australia profiles Bayern Munich’s newest signing. 

Nestory Irankunda is Autralia’s newest wonderkid after signing for Bayern Munich

Early life

Born on February 9, 2006 to his father Gideon, a rideshare driver, and his mother, Dafroza in Kigoma, Tanzania.

The fourth child of seven, Irankunda spent the first three months of his life in a refugee camp, with his family desperate to flee Burundi’s civil war.

The Irankundas moved to Perth, West Australia before relocating to Adelaide in South Australia, where Nestory soon dicovered his love for football. 

He played for the Northern Wolves and Parafield Gardens as a junior and his talent was quickly recognised by scouts. Irankunda was snapped up by National Premier League club Adelaide Croaia Raiders, where his performances attracted attention from Airton Andrioli, head of youth at Adelaide United.

The 17-year-old moved to Australia from Tanzania after his family fled a war

Irankunda was invited for a trial with the A-League club in 2020 and was offered a place in the club’s academy within a couple of weeks. 

‘When you see a boy like Nestory, some players have that naturally,’ Andrioli said.

‘That gift of understanding and reading the game. Being street smart. You don’t see that a lot in Australian players. That’s why Nestory from the start had that kind of thing.’ 

Football career

Irankunda initially started out with United’s reserve side and was offered his first professional contract after hitting 12 goals in 26 games.

In January 2022, he became the sixth youngest player in A-League history after making his debut against Melbourne Victory at the ge of 15 years and 333 days. 

Later that same month, Irankunda scored his first league goal – a free kick in stoppage time to defeat Newcastle Jets 2-1. His performances in his first season saw him selected in the A-League All Stars squad to face Barcelona in May 2022. 

The 2022-23 season was Irankunda’s breakout campaign with United, but he was mired by disciplinary issues that upset the club. 

He copped a one-month suspension for turning up late to several team meetings and not doing ‘chores’ associated with being a young player. Irankunda also started a brawl in a match against Western Sydney Wanderers that saw him end up in a headlock.

He had his breakthrough season in 2022-23, capturing Bayern Munich’s attention

He has had disciplinary issues and also suffered a serious medical episode this year

But he ended the season with five goals and two assists in 22 games.

Irankunda was hit by a medical episode during pre-season for 2023-24. During a game for the NPL side, he swallowed his tongue and collapsed to the ground after hitting his head whilst attempting to pass the ball.

He was promptly taken off the field and only returned to senior action on 20 October.  

Bright future

Irankunda had long been linked with Bayern, with a move during the summer transfer window mooted, so his signing on Tuesday has come as no surprise.

‘We’ve had Nestory on our radar for some time and we’re pleased we’ve reached an agreement with him and Adelaide United on a move to Munich for next summer,’ said Jochen Sauer, Bayern’s director of youth development. 

‘We’d like to thank the United management for the good talks. Nestory is an extremely quick winger, a strong dribbler and finisher with good drive towards goal. We’re convinced by his potential and that he will take the next steps with us.’ 

On video game EAFC 24, Irankunda has the potential to reach an 83 overall rating on career mode, while players of Football Manager regard the 17-year-old as a future star on the game.  

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