The Burundi Football Association is optimistic about convincing Nestory Irankunda to represent his parents’ country despite the teenager’s recent move to Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich.

Born in a Tanzanian refugee camp and currently residing in Australia, the 17-year-old forward has already represented his adopted country at the under-17 level and was part of the senior Australia set-up as an unused substitute in friendlies against Ecuador in March.

Burundi FA president Alexandre Muyenge expressed the desire for Irankunda to play for Burundi, acknowledging the player’s Australian citizenship but emphasizing his Burundian heritage. Irankunda, known for his speed, skillful dribbling, and powerful shot, recently signed a long-term contract with Bayern, commencing on July 1 next year.

Despite Burundi’s current FIFA world ranking of 142nd and limited success in the Africa Cup of Nations, Muyenge sees Irankunda’s emergence as proof of the nation’s potential to produce top players and elevate its footballing status. He highlighted the inspiration Irankunda provides to Burundian youth, emphasizing the need to nurture and develop talent in the country.

Irankunda’s journey from conflict-driven displacement to becoming the most prolific under-20 goalscorer in the Australian league has captured attention. Joining Adelaide United at 15, he made his A-League debut at 16 and earned a move to Bayern, describing it as a “dream come true.”

Bayern’s director of youth development, Jochen Sauer, expressed confidence in Irankunda’s potential, while Adelaide United boss Carl Veart emphasized Bayern’s history of developing young talent. With Irankunda already having experienced the senior international level with Australia, Burundi faces a challenge in persuading him to switch allegiance.

Despite being omitted from the squad for upcoming FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers, national coach Graham Arnold remains cautious about Irankunda’s future, emphasizing the tough pathway ahead. Veart, acknowledging Irankunda’s exciting potential, stresses the importance of not placing excessive pressure on the young player’s shoulders as he embarks on this significant next step in his career.


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