By Rawle Toney
If anyone had told 28 year-old Walter Moore that he would be playing in the ninth largest country in the world, he would have probably used some colourful Guyanese language to tell the person where to get off. But today, Moore is playing professional soccer in , Kazakhstan and is thankful for the opportunity.
The Guyana National team stalwart believes he is still dreaming and said its a dream he wants to keep alive.
“Playing in Kazakhstan is totally different from playing in the Caribbean. I’ve coped better than I thought I would with the extremely cold weather” Moore tells News Source in an exclusive interview, chronicling his journey to the Kazakhstan Premier League.
In the once Soviet Union country, football is the most popular sport and Moore now plays for FC Vostok, scoring on his debut and leading the side to a 1-Nil victory.
Kazakhstan is cold for most of the year,a big difference from the endless warm temperature of Guyana. Moore had a first hand experience of the frightening temperatures, stating that his opening game was played in -6 degrees but “thankfully its steadily warming up” he said.
“I played eight years in Trinidad, starting with North East Stars and then Caledonia” Moore said. But while playing alongside several Guyanese Moore didn’t find much success until he formed an alliance with former Guyana Technical Director and present National Coach of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamal Shabazz signed Moore to the Neal and Massay Caledonia AIA and together, they won three FA Cups, two First Citizens Cup, one Digicel Pro-Bowl (2008), the 2012 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield and the 2012 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship.
In 2011 Moore was also loaned to Charlotte Eagles in the United States Soccer Pro-League (USL). The former Fruta Conquerors player said he is delighted with the way his career has turned out, adding that “countless sacrifices were made and I’m pleased with the rewards I’m now reaping for my efforts”.
Walter Moore started his career with the Georgetown Football Club then joined Fruta Conquerors. He also had stints with the Alpha United Club. In 2004 he made his senior national team debut after coming through the ranks on the Jaguars’ youth team.
Asked about how he’s coping with the language since the country speaks Russian, Moore noted “English is everyone’s second language, so the barrier hasn’t been too big of an obstacle. The club also provided a translator to assist.The local guys all try their hands at English and also attempt to teach me Russian. It’s been a fascinating experience and my eyes are open to an entire new culture and lifestyle. It wasn’t easy adapting, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenge”.
He added, “There is good support and a great vibe at the venues. You are really motivated to play by the atmosphere given off by the fans. My team mates have been wonderful! Everyone has been extremely friendly. The other four foreign players are from Senegal, Gambia, El Salvador and Radanfah Abu Bakr, my former teammate at Caledonia in Trinidad. They all speak English well and that has helped me to settle in a lot easier”.
Recently, Moore and Captain of the Guyana National team Chris Nurse were both very critical about the state of affairs of the game in Guyana. At the time, they threatened to boycott the national team if changes were not made to the way players were being treated.
Moore played an integral part in the country’s national team success, helping the Golden Jaguars to qualify for the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers before they crashed out.
The Guyana Football Federation recently held its General Congress. Longtime football administrator, Christopher Matthias was voted in as the new President.
“It’s always an honour to represent my country” Moore said “We’ve got a new president and if he is up to the task of taking the Jags to the next level, I would love to be a part of that”.