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06 March 2020 | Story Ruan Bruwer | Photo Supplied
Nomsa Mathontsi
Nomsa Mathontsi has been training with the South African senior women’s football team since Monday (03/02).

Whether she takes to the field or not, being part of the senior national women’s soccer team is already an accomplishment, says Nomsa Mathontsi. 

The BAdmin student in Economic and Management Sciences has been chosen for the Banyana Banyana squad for the first time. They face Lesotho on Sunday, 8 March 2020 in an international friendly in Johannesburg. There could be two Kovsies on the field, as Mating Monokoane, another University of the Free State student, was selected for Lesotho’s team. Both of them are midfielders.

The 21-year-old Mathontsi, who has been part of the Kovsie football team since 2018, says it will be a dream come true for her to wear the national colours. “Even if I don't get to play, I will still be proud of myself for being able to take on the challenge of going to camp and giving myself a chance to show my talent.”

“We have been together since Monday, 2 March 2020 and it has been the best experience, especially the fact that football has put me in the high-performance centre (South African Football Association girls’ academy), and now I get an opportunity to be with Banyana for the first time.”

“I was shocked when I got the call, but excited to face the challenge because it's never easy to get a call-up to Banyana, you need to work for it,” she says.

According to Mathontsi, who grew up in Mamelodi, Pretoria, her first love was athletics, but that changed during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“I was an athlete back in primary school and it just so happened that I was selected to play football, which I never really enjoyed. I also had the opportunity to be part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup ceremonies, where I developed a love for football.”

News Archive

Researcher works on finding practical solutions to plant diseases for farmers
2017-10-03

 Description: Lisa read more Tags: Plant disease, Lisa Ann Rothman, Department of Plant Sciences, 3 Minute Thesis,  

Lisa Ann Rothman, researcher in the Department of
Plant Sciences.
Photo: Supplied

 


Plant disease epidemics have wreaked havoc for many centuries. Notable examples are the devastating Great Famine in Ireland and the Witches of Salem. 

Plant diseases form, due to a reaction to suitable environments, when a susceptible host and viable disease causal organism are present. If the interactions between these three factors are monitored over space and time the outcome has the ability to form a “simplification of reality”. This is more formally known as a plant disease model. Lisa Ann Rothman, a researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) participated in the Three Minute Thesis competition in which she presented on Using mathematical models to predict plant disease. 

Forecast models provide promise fighting plant diseases
The aim of Lisa’s study is to identify weather and other driving variables that interact with critical host growth stages and pathogens to favour disease incidence and severity, for future development of risk forecasting models. Lisa used the disease, sorghum grain mold, caused by colonisation of Fusarium graminearum, and concomitant mycotoxin production to illustrate the modelling process. 

She said: “Internationally, forecasting models for many plant diseases exist and are applied commercially for important agricultural crops. The application of these models in a South African context has been limited, but provides promise for effective disease intervention technologies.

Contributing to the betterment of society
“My BSc Agric (Plant Pathology) undergraduate degree was completed in combination with Agrometeorology, agricultural weather science. I knew that I wanted to combine my love for weather science with my primary interest, Plant Pathology. 
“My research is built on the statement of Lord Kelvin: ‘To measure is to know and if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it’. Measuring the changes in plant disease epidemics allows for these models to be developed and ultimately provide practical solutions for our farmers. Plant disease prediction models have the potential ability to reduce the risk for famers, allowing the timing of fungicide applications to be optimised, thus protecting their yields and ultimately their livelihoods. I am continuing my studies in agriculture in the hope of contributing to the betterment of society.” 

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