Irankunda set to smash A-Leagues record this weekend: This is the list he’ll top by a mile

Adelaide United’s teenage sensation Nestory Irankunda is set to create more Isuzu UTE A-League history this week.

The 17-year-old already owns the record for the most goals scored before the age of 18 in the league.

Now, the Bayern Munich-bound forward is poised to make his 50th A-Leagues appearance against Perth Glory on Friday night – making him the youngest ever to achieve the feat.

With that in mind, looks at the 10 youngest players to play 50 Isuzu UTE A-League matches.

10. Jacob Farrell (Central Coast Mariners) – 20 years, 6 months, 15 days

The Central Coast Mariners full-back has flourished in Gosford since being given his breakthrough under Nick Montgomery in 2021-22.

Now 21, Farrell won the Championship last season and remains a key cog of a Central Coast side eyeing back-to-back titles, this time under Mark Jackson.

9. Terry Antonis (Sydney FC) – 20 years, 4 months, 18 days

Now playing for Melbourne City, Antonis made his professional debut as a 16-year-old for Sydney FC back in 2010.

Since then, the three-time Socceroo has won a Championship with Melbourne Victory in 2017-18 and was part of the Australia side that won the 2015 Asian Cup under Ange Postecoglou.

8. Bernie Ibini (Central Coast Mariner) – 20 years, 4 months

The 31-year-old emerged through the ranks at the Mariners, debuting in 2010 and he has gone on to enjoy success throughout his well-travelled career.

A Premiership and Championship winner with the Mariners, Ibini also won a Premiership during his time at Sydney FC while he tasted K League 1 success at Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

Twice capped by the Socceroos, he last played for Singaporean outfit Lion City Sailors in 2023.

7. Riley McGree (Melbourne City) – 20 years, 4 months , 1 day

An established Socceroo playing for Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough in the EFL Championship, McGree’s career started in the A-Leagues.

The former Adelaide United youngster debuted in South Australia but reached his 50-game milestone while on loan at Melbourne City.

6. Louis D’Arrigo (Adelaide United) – 20 years, 1 month, 28 days

You can now find D’Arrigo playing for Lechia Gdansk in Poland’s second tier but prior to that, the 22-year-old was making waves at Adelaide United.

An Australia Cup winner with the Reds, he also became the club’s youngest player to reach 100 games for Adelaide aged just 20 in 2022-23.

5. Trent Buhagiar (Central Coast Mariners) – 20 years, 1 month, 18 days

The Newcastle Jets speedster has been around the A-Leagues for a while now, bringing up the half-century milestone during his time with Central Coast Mariners.

This season, the 25-year-old has scored four goals for the youthful Jets.

4. Liam Rose (Central Coast Mariners) – 19 years, 11 months, 18 days

These days, Rose is playing for El Paso Locomotive in the USL Championship – the second tier of football in the United States.

But at the start of his career, the 26-year-old midfielder broke through at Central Coast and he earned the Mariners Medal in 2015-16.

3. Mathew Ryan (Central Coast Mariners) – 19 years, 11 months, 3 days

One of the A-Leagues’ finest products, Ryan has enjoyed a sensational career for club and country.

The Socceroos captain and AZ goalkeeper was thrust into the Mariners’ line-up by Graham Arnold in 2010 and he has not looked back, going on to play for the likes of Arsenal and Valencia.

2. Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle Jets) – 19 years, 9 months, 30 days

Kantarovski’s career came to an end in 2022, retiring as a one-team player.

The 32-year-old midfielder made history when he signed a full-time contract aged 15 back in 2008. Kantarovski was only 16 when he debuted for the Jets.

1. Liberato Cacace (Wellington Phoenix) – 19 years, 5 months, 10 days

These days, the New Zealand international can be found in Serie A playing for Empoli.

The Wellington Phoenix graduate flourished in the Isuzu UTE A-League before earning a move to Belgian top-flight outfit Sint-Truiden, who were led by A-Leagues legend Kevin Muscat at the time.

* Nestory Irankunda (Adelaide United) – 18 years, 0 days

The Adelaide United young gun is currently sitting on 49 appearances in the Isuzu UTE A-League and if he features on Friday night against Perth Glory he will break Cacace’s record and rocket to the top of this list by some distance.

Coincidentally, Friday is also Irankunda’s 18th birthday.

He would become the youngest player to reach the 50-match milestone by over 18 months, an extraordinary feat for a player who seems destined for greatness.