Rwandan gaffer Andre Cassa Mbungo seems to have finally arrived. The experienced trainer is currently carving a niche for himself at Kenyan side Bandari FC and he is on the front-line in their quest to lift the long elusive league title.
Rwanda has produced few coaches over the years who had the chance to handle teams outside their own country and, currently, Mbungo is the best among them as he is excelling at Mombasa-based Bandari FC.
Certainly, Mbungo's success is not coming on a silver platter. It is something he has assiduously worked for in his nearly three decades in the dugout of various teams including Rayon Sports, SC Kiyovu, AS Kigali and Police to name a few.
Just like many coaches, Mbungo played the game but not to the highest level as he had to retire even before getting to his prime in order to enter coaching in 1994.
Born in January 1968, Mbungo featured as a goalkeeper for three Burundian clubs; Dynamo FC, Atletico and Flamingo before hanging his gloves to embark on his coaching career at age 26.
He handled a host of academies in the neighbouring country before APR - Rwanda's most successful club - appointed him as head of their youth team from 1998 to 2002 where he groomed the likes of legendary striker Olivier Karekezi.
To date, Mbungo is the only tactician to ever guide two different clubs to the Peace Cup glory; AS Kigali in 2013 and Police in 2015.
Despite coaching various amateur and academy clubs in Burundi, Mbungo's real taste of top professional action with a foreign club came in 2019 when Kenya's AFC Leopards named him as their head coach.
Despite a bright side to his Leopards career, he had to resign in just a year as the club was owing him huge sums of money in salary and match allowances. He took a short break from coaching and resurfaced after almost six months at Bandari FC.
Mbungo, in the space of just one year, has made the coastal city outfit a force to reckon with as he has instilled winning mentality in the boys and has noticeably honed their talents.
Players like Whyvonne Insiza, who has been a revelation in the heart of the Bandari midfield since the appointment of Mbungo, lauds the Rwandan gaffer for inspiring him to reach the top form.
"We have worked with Casa before and I know what he expects from me, that is why it was easy for me to adapt" Isuzu was quoted as saying in local media on Monday.
The "Dockers" have won six games so far this season, drawn five and lost one are fourth on the league log with 23 points and a game at hand.
They remain one of the best teams in the Kenyan Premier League and continue to challenge for the league title, a feat that would make Mbungo an obvious candidate for best coach of the season.