EXCLUSIVE: ‘My doctors said I had a one per cent chance of survival – I died twice’: Georgia rugby coach Levan Maisashvili on his miraculous recovery from Covid last year and hopes it will inspire his players ahead of Italy clash

  • The head coach of the Georgian national team, Levan Maisashvili, talked about his struggle with Covid-19
  • Maisashvili admits that he “died twice” while fighting the virus last summer
  • His doctors believed he had only a one percent chance of surviving his illness
  • But the “phoenix” passed through the other side after rising from the death bed
  • Georgia’s players can take inspiration from the recovery against Italy on Sunday

Here in Georgia, Levan Maisashvili is called a “phoenix” after his miraculous recovery Corona virus infection covid-19 and on the verge of death in South Africa last summer.

“I was definitely dead. I died twice,” Maisashvili says bluntly, before his lips part in a wry smile.

“My doctors said I had a one percent chance of survival. No one was waiting for me.”

The head coach of the Georgian national team continues: “God saved me. Now I live differently. My life is so much better. I don’t worry about small or silly things that I used to think were important.

The head coach of the Georgian national team, Levan Maisashvili, talked about his struggle with Covid-19 last summer

“Life is so short. The moon lay in a coma. I had 60 kilograms. I was like a vegetable. I was just nothing.

“Day by day, step by step, I fought. Not only did I survive, I came back.

“Everyone thought I would quit my job after a year, but I came back in September and became a coach in mid-October. They thought I was crazy, but I did it and that’s the example I want to show my players. Never give up. My experience has taught me that anything is possible.

“You just have to set a goal, and with strength and perseverance, you can achieve absolutely anything.”

Maisashvili tested positive for the coronavirus after his team met the Springboks 12 months ago and became seriously ill. Staring certain death in the eye, his family was prepared for the worst.

Then he rose from his deathbed.

Georgia’s players will take inspiration from their coach’s story when they face Italy in Batumi on Sunday. The game is huge for The Lelos.

Maisashvili admits that

Maisashvili admits he ‘died twice’ after contracting virus while in South Africa

His miraculous recovery will serve as an inspiration for his Georgia players in the match against Italy

His miraculous recovery will serve as an inspiration for his Georgia players in the match against Italy

Maisashvili and his players want a chance to join the Six Nations.

Beating the traditional boys in the championship would be a huge affirmation that they deserve this opportunity.

Rugby is the national sport of Georgia, the popularity of which is growing every year.

The Italy game is a good opportunity for us to play against a Six Nations team and a first-tier country. We have such opportunities only once or twice a year,” says Maisashvili.

“Every year we have a maximum of 11 games. This is not enough for us. We are a small country, but we will try to show that we can play very good rugby. I think we can challenge the best teams.”

Georgia is the best team in Europe in rugby – the division below the Six Nations.

Many believe that every year there should be a promotion-relegation clash between the bottom-placed team in the Six Nations table and the top-ranked team in rugby Europe.

His team is currently the best rugby union team in Europe - a division below the Six Nations

His team is currently the best rugby union team in Europe – a division below the Six Nations

Such a scenario often combines Italy and Georgia, as will happen this weekend.

A big crowd will be in attendance as Rugby Georgia looks to continue to increase the appeal of the game by hosting the game in Batumi on the Black Sea coast instead of the capital Tbilisi.

“We are not showing our maximum yet. We need time and big games,” Maisashvili adds.

“Step by step we can play much better.”

Italy is the next big step for Georgia.

They must seize their chance to secure a clear victory.

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