Looking ahead to the summer, Irankunda is still 17 and – according to statutes Down Under – can only move to Europe when he is an adult (Irankunda will turn 18 in February). According to the FCB press release, Irankunda are signing “a long-term contract” in the Bavarian capital; the German champions did not provide any information regarding the transfer fee. According to reports, this value should reach three million euros.
“We have had Nestory on our radar for some time now,” Jochen Sauer, head of FCB’s youth training center, said in the statement: “Nestory is an extremely fast, dribbling winger who is strong at the end and has a lot of power towards the goal. We are convinced of his potential and that he will take the next step with us.”
Irankunda, an unknown youngster from a league that goes unnoticed in local areas. Memories inevitably come back to one Alphonso Davies, who moved to Bayern from Major League Soccer side Vancouver Whitecaps in January 2019.
Davies is also a blank slate
Davies was also 17 when he signed in the summer of 2018, and smiled for the camera with braces on at the time. Similar to Irankunda, he was only known to experts with an affinity for young football players; he was also noted as a “fast and technically competent offensive player”.
“As a child, I always dreamed of a moment like this”, enthused the Canadian at the time. He added: “Now the dream has come true. But now the work continues, now I have to give everything to take advantage of this opportunity.”
And how he took advantage of the opportunity. In a very short time, Davies went from the Munich amateurs to the A team and became the undisputed regular player under coach Hansi Flick, who used the youngster as a left-back. A year and a half after arriving in the Bavarian capital, he lifted the championship trophy, the DFB Cup and the Champions League pot.
Irankunda’s parents fled to Tanzania
The parallels between Davies and Irankunda don’t just refer to their playing qualities. Like Davies, Irankunda was also born in an African refugee camp because his parents had already fled a civil war. Irankunda’s parents fled Burundi for Tanzania, Davies’ parents left Liberia for Ghana, where today’s superstar was born.
“I know it was very difficult for my parents,” Irankunda recently told the YouTube channel “KEEPUP.” Shortly after Irankunda’s birth, the family moved to Adelaide, Australia. In the city of over a million people, Irankunda quickly discovered his enthusiasm for the big leather ball; From an early age it was clear that the boy had great talent. “I always played an extra year growing up,” he explained.
His path was still difficult, so his two brothers hung up their boots so he could play for the club. “The club fees were simply too high and they sacrificed their dream for mine,” said Irankunda, who also owes a big thank you to his parents. “My dad probably sacrificed the most for me. Before I got my driver’s license, he took me everywhere. Sometimes he couldn’t even go to church to take me to training or games.”
Professional debut at age 15
The commitment paid off: at the age of 14, Irankunda was discovered by Adelaide United and, at just 15, he made his debut for the first team. Now it is indispensable. In 39 professional games he contributed nine goals and two assists. Values that Irankunda will expand in the coming months until moving to Munich. “The experiences of the coming months in the A-League will have a very positive effect on their development,” predicted Campus boss Sauer.
Meanwhile, Irankunda knows exactly what he wants: the pan with a handle. He made this clear in an interview with “KEEPUP”. The young man is already thinking about the distant future: “I want to finish my career at Adelaide United”. But first comes the great adventure in Germany.
Retraining to become a defender?
Irankunda will initially be developed on the campus in northern Munich. Like Davies once did. And who knows – perhaps the Australian Sub-national player will follow a similar path in terms of positioning, from attacking to defensive winger. Irankunda at least has a history as a defensive player.
“I often watched Barcelona games. I wanted to be a central defender, I used to play in central defense. I liked Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué”, he revealed. “Initially I was sad when they told me I should play as a striker because my dream was to be a defender.”
And the defenders – as is becoming clear these days – FC Bayern can always use them. However, they will still have to wait a little longer in Munich for Irankunda’s services.