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'Take it easy': Call for fans to give Bayern boy Irankunda a break after emotional release

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14th December, 2023
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Pundits and fans need to ease up on Adelaide wonderkid Nestory Irankunda as he deals with having the “pressure of Australian football on his shoulders”, United goalkeeper Joe Gauci says. 

Irankunda’s turbulent start to the A-League Men season continued last weekend when the teenager was subbed off in the 2-0 defeat to Brisbane Roar.

Broadcast vision later showed him in tears, with former Socceroos midfielder Luke Wilkshire among those voicing concern over Irankunda’s maturity. 

The Burundi-born winger, who has agreed to join German giants Bayern Munich at the end of this season, was sent off in a clash with Melbourne Victory last month when his emotions got the better of him. 

But as Adelaide bid to snap their form slump when they travel to Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday, Gauci is telling critics to give the 17-year-old an easier ride. 

“I can understand his frustration in coming off at an early stage of the game, maybe with his performance as well,” Gauci said. 

Nestory Irankunda of Adelaide United reacts after Craig Goodwin of United. awarded a free kick during the A-League Men's Elimination Final match between Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium on May 05, 2023, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Adelaide United’s Nestory Irankunda. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

“That’s something he needs to keep in check. But he’s extremely young, he’s 17 years old, he’s just signed at Bayern Munich and has the pressure of Australian football on his shoulders. 


“I could never understand the pressure that’s put on him, he’s still a kid and is trying to discover himself as a person and professional. 

“It’s easy to judge and make assumptions about how he’s feeling. 

“Maybe he can control (his emotions) better and he’ll learn that with age and experience … we just need to take it easy on him.” 

Adelaide head to Sydney’s west with a point to prove after winning just one of their last five games.

Despite that, Carl Veart’s side can overtake the fifth-placed Wanderers with victory. 

Gauci was the first to hold his hand up for the Reds’ patchy run but said it was natural Adelaide’s young squad would take time before they could be firing on all cylinders every week. 


“Consistency throughout the 90 minutes is the biggest thing, and you’ve seen when we do that we can really dominate and control games,” Gauci said. 

“It can be frustrating, but at the same time I look towards myself and what I can do to help a team.

“I’m someone at the back, so I’m asking myself how can I be communicating clearer to help the boys in front of me.”