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The Roar


Fear not Adelaide fans, the next Nestory Irankunda might be right around the corner

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Roar Guru
27th February, 2024

Close your eyes and you can almost see it; the imagery seems to be permanently etched in our minds over the past two seasons of the A-League.

Under the bright lights of Hindmarsh Stadium and with Adelaide United on the ropes, all of that changes in a matter of seconds when the fearless teenager demands the ball. Defenders start to get turned inside out by dazzling footwork before seeing an unstoppable 25-yard rocket of a shot thunder in the top corner of the net. The player cartwheels away in a celebration that involves multiple backsprings before landing gracefully in front of the parochial home crowd.

This is the scene that fans across the A-League have become accustomed to, with the seemingly never-ending talent line of South Australian players with African heritage.

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)

Nestory Irankunda. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

With Nestory Irankunda less than two months away from making the dream move to Bayern Munich, fans of the league and in particular Adelaide need not worry – the latest jewel in the production line of diamonds is already at the club: Amlani Tatu.

In a match littered with several defensive errors reminiscent of the senior A-League side, reigning SA NPL champions Adelaide United were thumped 5-0 by Campbelltown City in the opening round of the competition over the weekend.

The result sent shockwaves around the NPL community. Yet, upon closer inspection, it was an exceptional Campbelltown City side that did the shocking, featuring ex-A-League alumni in Josh Mori as well as Dan and Alex Mullen.


This was also the first time the majority of the United NPL side had ever played at Hindmarsh Stadium and many seemed to wilt in the sunshine, except for the starting debutant Amlani Tatu.

Tatu begun on the left wing and although he didn’t score, was a constant threat all afternoon.

Coming up against grown men more than a decade older than himself, Tatu was not scared to collect the ball and run at players – hurdling challenges before crossing into dangerous areas or seeing shots narrowly fly past the post.

Like many of the teenagers with African heritage who have come through Adelaide over the past several years, Tatu is blessed with explosive speed, strength and trickery.

He is also a free-kick expert and has been known to score spectacular goals with even more wild celebrations – as evidenced by this goal for Burundi in the recent SA African Nations Cup.


Tatu is a player many within South Australia had hoped to keep secret for as long as possible, but his performance at the Under-15 national championships for SA late last year did not go unnoticed – even when most eyes were on the tournament’s top goal scorer David Bolongi.

The tricky winger was introduced into United’s SA NPL in the closing rounds of 2023, coming off the bench and he has also been in goal-scoring form for the NPL side this preseason.

Tatu’s path has been eerily similar to that of Nestory Irankunda’s and it would be no surprise to see him given a scholarship with Adelaide United’s A-League side when the season finishes.

With the spotlight about to shine on Tatu, the young prodigy will need to make smart choices. Like any teenager, Tatu will make mistakes along the way, but is how he learns from these mistakes that will shape not only his football journey, but his life.

The famous saying of pressure makes diamonds applies to Tatu, but it is that pressure from friends, family, teammates, coaches, opposition and the media that can make that diamond start to chip and eventually crack.


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Amlani Tatu, remember the name.