The A-League has a new player who is going to play for the Socceroos, but a "rival" league is about to start up.
The A-League has a new player who is going to play for the Socceroos, but a “rival” league is about to start up.

It’s easy to imagine a happy scene where the Socceroos play in Parramatta in a few weeks in front of a packed house and Nestory Irankunda makes his debut off the bench.

Irankunda is the talk of the A-League after coming off the bench and scoring his second goal in two weeks and third in five games in Adelaide United’s thrilling 4-2 win over league leaders Melbourne City on Friday night.

More than 10,000 people went to Coopers Stadium to watch an exciting game. The Reds came from behind to win, and Irankunda’s exciting goal on the break was the game-winner.

“You could call it a tap-in!” exclaimed the likeable 17-year-old, who often scores great goals off the bench.

Irankunda will be called up by the Socceroos, it’s not a question of if, but when. This is because he can still technically play for Tanzania and Burundi at full international level.

But if the A-League has taught us anything over the past few seasons, it’s that fans have a tendency to get too excited about young players before they’ve even played a game.

Irankunda will get his chance to play in a green and gold jersey, but it would be great to see the teenager really step up and make his mark on Carl Veart’s battle-tested Reds team.

Irankunda plays for Adelaide United. (Image by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

In the meantime, Adelaide United will aim for a top-two finish and try to catch up to Marko Rudan’s Western Sydney Wanderers, who are also tough.

If you only watched a few A-League games, like when the Wanderers beat the Central Coast Mariners 2-0 on Saturday despite Marcelo getting sent off in the second half, you might think the league was going well.

Adelaide still gets good crowds at home, Western Sydney’s play under Rudan is a welcome return to form, and Wellington Phoenix continue to be overlooked, even though Ufuk Talay is clearly one of the best coaches in the league.

But if you only look at half of the games in each round, you only get half of the story. In the A-League, every step forward is usually followed by many steps back.

The Australian Professional Leagues chose to show empty seats on TV on Sunday afternoon, which was the day that the NRL’s newest team, the Dolphins, won their first game and the Sydney Kings came back to tie the NBL’s championship series in Auckland.

When Macarthur beat Brisbane Roar 3-2 in a nail-biter in Campbelltown, there were thousands and thousands of empty seats in the stands.

Is there anyone in the world who thinks it’s a good idea to start an A-League game at 3 p.m. on a Sunday in the middle of a Sydney summer?

Is this time slot on Network 10 and Paramount+ really watched by so many people that it can’t be moved to 5pm?

All of this makes it seem like the APL is only in charge in name, since they don’t seem to be able to make any changes that help the competition.

Which is an interesting situation now that 23 to 30 clubs are said to have sent “Expressions of Interest” to join Football League. The National Second Division of Australia.

More Football:

  • The A-League has a new star who is going to play for the Socceroos, but the “rival” league is getting closer.
  • The A-League has a new star who is going to play for the Socceroos, but the “rival” league is getting closer.
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  • The 19th round of the A-League: Reds make a statement, Vuck is on the edge, and Yorke is proven right.


The NSD has, of course, gotten a lot of attention, but what hasn’t been talked about much is that, without immediate promotion and relegation to the top tier, it looks a lot like a rival league to the A-League, run by a rival group.

There’s no way to know for sure that a second division won’t be more popular than the A-League it’s meant to support.

In the meantime, the APL should hope that players like Irankunda will score more spectacular goals.

Because Macarthur and Brisbane Roar can’t play a five-goal thriller on Sunday afternoon if no one is watching.

The APL might think it’s fine to just let this season go by, but a rival league could be right behind them soon.

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