Irankunda wants Australia call-up but won't rule out switch

The Socceroos future of 17-year-old star Nestory Irankunda (2:05)

Graham Arnold talks about the potential of Bayern Munich-bound 17-year-old Nestory Irankunda and his future presence in the Socceroos squad. (2:05)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Bayern Munich-bound prodigy Nestory Irankunda has refused to rule out the prospect of switching from Australia to Burundi or Tanzania at senior international level.

Irankunda, 18, will move from A-League club Adelaide United to Bayern this offseason after signing a "long-term contract" with the Bavarian giants in November of last year.

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Previously serving as a train-on player during Australia friendlies against Ecuador in March of 2023, the teenager scored eight goals and grabbed six assists with Adelaide during the 2023-24 A-League Men season.

However, he remains uncapped at a senior level and was a notable absence from Australia's squad for the AFC under-23 Championships in April -- Olyroo boss Tony Vidmar saying "bigger picture" thinking was behind his absence -- which has led to speculation on his international future.

Irankunda is eligible to represent Tanzania after being born in a refugee camp in the country and able to represent Burundi through his parents.

"As of now I'm not too sure on how things are gonna go," Irankunda said on Friday. "I haven't been called up for a few of the squads now. I'm still thinking on what I want to do in the future on a national level. So we'll see.

"I'm still eligible for Tanzania and Burundi as well. But obviously, it's a dream of mine to play for the Socceroos and if the opportunity comes again then hopefully it comes soon and I take it."

Asked if that meant he would consider switching his eligibility if the situation didn't change, Irankunda replied "of course."

Already qualified for the next phase of Asian qualification, Australia is scheduled to face Bangladesh and Palestine in World Cup qualifiers in June, with coach Graham Arnold expected to name his squad next week.

Though the makeup of that unit is not yet confirmed, sources have told ESPN that Irankunda remains firmly on the radar of the coach, who will seek to blend youth with a chase for results that will help South Korea in the FIFA rankings.

Irankunda was speaking to media after a sterling 20-minute cameo off the bench for the A-League All Stars, who beat a very youthful Newcastle United side 8-0 in a post-season exhibition game at Marvel Stadium.

The teen provided an assist after being introduced into the fray, with Arnold watching on from the stands.

"I reckon I showed the people at the game what I can do," Irankunda said. "And hopefully Arnie has seen it. If not, then I can't really say much."

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe told a post-match news conference that Irankunda's display caught his eye.

"I though he was really impressive," Howe said. "I was aware of him before the game and know that he's off to Bayern. I certainly wish him well, in that journey, it's an incredible football club to move to. It's a big step but he showed he's got definite qualities today.

"I don't think our defenders will be too pleased to have seen him at that stage where they're tired and he's fresh, that was an awkward end of the game for us."